-Eels and Knights retain unbeaten records with home wins
CLAY CITY -- The door was almost completely shut for the Clay City Eels in Monday's softball game versus Shakamak. Down 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out and no base runners, but coach Amy Hammond's crew wedged their foot firmly in the door and kicked it wide open to score four runs with two outs to defeat the Lakers 4-3.
Hammond, a Shakamak High School graduate and a coach for the Lakers for two years, was understandably emotional after the wild inning. "This is so tremendous. I'm still shaking. For me personally this is a game I really wanted to win," commented Hammond. "Our freshmen really came through tonight. This was such a great victory."
For six innings Shakamak's Nicole Fougerousse was devastating to Clay City batters, giving up just a lone single to Jenna Koehler in the top of the second inning. Meanwhile the Lakers took advantage of four third inning Clay City errors to plate a pair of runs before scoring one more in the top of the fifth on a pair of hits.
Leading 3-0, Fougerousse had struck out nine batters and the Eels hadn't seriously threatened headed into the bottom half of the seventh inning. When Kari Bettenbrock grounded out to start the inning for Clay City, the outlook seemed bleak.
But the lone hitter to get a hit through the first six innings, Koehler came to the plate and the senior delivered once more.
Koehler slapped a single to centerfield to bring Kasi Thatcher to the plate.
Thatcher worked into the count before being hit by a Fougerousse pitch to move Koehler to second base. After Cameron Gerber grounded out to move the Eels closer to defeat, Kylee Knox delivered by reaching first when her groundball was thrown away at firstbase. The error scored both Thatcher and Koehler to make the score 3-2.
Hammond then sent pinch-hitter Angela Ewer to the plate with Knox on second base.
Ewer would also reach when her sharp grounder was bobbled slightly. Her hustle sent her to second base as Knox came home with the tying run, beating the relay throw to the plate.
"We're really going to count on Angela (Ewer) this year to hit for us," said Hammond. "Once her fielding comes around she'll start for us."
With Eel fans on their feet and Laker fans stunned, Christina Haymaker came to the plate and finished the comeback by slapping a single down the leftfield line to score Ewer with the winning run.
Loni Rhodes got the win for the Eels, pitching the seventh inning, striking out one. Bettenbrock started and went six innings, allowing five hits and striking out five.
The Eels are now 2-0 overall, 1-0 in the Tri-River Conference and face Northview on the road tonight at 4:30 p.m.
Knights 7, Panthers 5
Northview picked up their fourth win in as many games with a 7-5 victory over visiting Bloomington North on Monday night.
The Knights scored six runs over the first three innings and held on despite a late rally by the Panthers.
Denae Whittington got her third win of the season by pitching all seven innings, giving up eight hits, five runs, just two of them earned and walking just one batter.
The real story was the Northview bats that continue to impress.
The Knights picked up 12 hits in the game, including three by Natalie Shoemaker who scored two runs and drove in a run. Jennifer Gregg and Chandra Burns each had a pair of hits and a RBI.
Kayla Glassburn had a hit, a walk and two runs scored, Millie Carr had a hit, a walk and a run scored, Erin Brackney had a hit and a RBI and Stacey Nichols also had a hit and a RBI.
"It's great to be 4-0 as young as we are, especially against the competition we've played," commented coach Jason Wise. "Last year I think there were times when they didn't think that they could win, but this year I think we're a lot more confident, especially at the plate."
Northview will try to continue their winning streak at home versus county rival Clay City this evening beginning at 4:30 p.m.