CLAY CITY -- When Clay City and Shakamak square off on the softball diamond the games are typically a dogfight and Monday was no exception.
For six innings the two squads battled to a 2-2 tie before Shakamak broke free with three infield singles in the top of the seventh inning and capitalized on an error to score four runs and take a 6-2 decision. "For the most part we did pretty well," commented first year head coach Staci Murphy. "We knew this would be a tough game. This is our first game and we've got a lot of young girls playing in their first varsity game. They were pretty nervous."
The nerves weren't apparent in the early going as Clay City jumped out to a first inning lead as Loni Rhodes drilled a one out triple to the leftfield corner before Kylee Knox drove her home with a bloop single to rightfield to put the Eels ahead 1-0.
Shakamak would respond with a run of their own in the top of the second inning as Alicia Gambill ripped a double off the left center fence before Annie Strahle sacrificed her to third base. Kendra Boston reached on an error by the Eels' third baseman which scored Gambill to knot the score.
From there, Rhodes and Shakamak starter Heather Gilbert matched zeros until the Eels added another run in the fifth inning as Kristin Tyler led off with a single and Kayla Baumgartner sacrificed her to second. Emily reed brought her home with an RBI single to put Clay City ahead 2-1.
Once more though, a fielding error came back to haunt the Eels as Chelsea Baker led off by reaching on an error and Gambill followed with her third hit of the game, a single to leftfield. The trouble continued for Clay City as Strahle's bunt attempt looped just over a charging Rhodes for an infield single that loaded the bases.
Rhodes would uncork a wildpitch that tied the score for Shakamak.
Boston would send a flyball to Baumgartner in leftfield that was caught, Gambill would tag at third and attempt to score on the play. Baumgartner's throw to the plate was perfect and despite Gambill colliding with Clay City catcher Kylee Knox, she would hold on for the out. Thanks to that play and a groundout by the next batter, the Eels escaped a bases loaded, no-out situation with just one run allowed.
The deciding inning came in the seventh as Shakamak put the first three batters on base via infield singles before the Eels recorded an out on a force out at the plate. However, a bloop single by Baker gave the Lakers a lead they would not relinquish and a passed ball and an error allowed two more runs to score to give Shakamak the victory.
"We need to work on about everything," commented Murphy afterwards. "Our baserunning is a big thing and we need some work on hitting too. Everyone is learning right now, including me. We've just got to take this in stride."
The Eels (0-1 overall) will host Sullivan on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
2B -- SH (Gambill 2), Clay City (none). 3B -- Clay City (Rhodes).
|Rhodes L (0-1)||7.0||6||10||0||2|