Times Sports Editor
Pardon the Clay City softball team while it works in a bevy of freshmen into the starting lineup this season. It may take some time while the youngsters find their swing at the plate. But as long as the Eels get the kind of pitching that Tasha Collenbaugh gave them on Thursday, the transition will go just fine.
Collenbaugh threw a no-hitter for the Eels against visiting North Knox, striking out 11 Warriors as Clay City took a 7-1 decision.
"Tasha did well," Clay City coach Roger Rhodes said. "She hit her spots and kept the ball down. They were calling the low strike all night."
While Collenbaugh kept the Warriors in check in the circle, the Eels were able to scratch out some early runs to give their pitcher a cushion on the scoreboard.
The Eels scored twice in the first inning on just one hit, getting back-to-back walks to lead off the game from Shaya Stevenson and Allie Souder. Collenbaugh sacrificed both runners into scoring position and Shelby Targett drove the first run home with an RBI flyball.
Abby Reed then lifted a flyball into short leftfield that dropped just out of the reach of the Warriors' shortstop, Katie Groteguth.
Souders scored on the play to give the Eels a 2-0 lead.
With a 4-0 lead, Collenbaugh struck out six Warriors over the first three innings.
Clay City added its fifth run in the third inning as Allie Miller singled and came around to score.
Collenbaugh ran in to her only bit of trouble in the fourth inning when she walked Brooke Etmeier, the first runner to reach base. The Eels attempted to pick her off at first when Etmeier strayed too far from the bag, but the throw sailed into rightfield and got past the backup fielder. Etmeier was able to race around the bases and score the lone Warriors' run on the error.
Stevenson led off the Eels' half of the frame by reaching base on a bunt single and then stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch. After a walk by Souder, Warriors' pitcher, Shayenne Shepherd got Collenbaugh on a groundout, but Targett followed with an RBI groundout.
Rhodes was quick to mention the importance of his team's leadoff hitter, reaching base to set the plate for his team.
"Shaya did well leading off," Rhodes said. "Allie (Miller) did too. They've both got good speed. We still need to work on slapping (hits), but that helps leading off."
Stevenson was pivotal in the game, reaching base the first three times at the plate and sacrificing pinch-hitter, Madison Sullivan over to eventually score the team's final run in the sixth inning.
Sullivan came around to score when Souder reached on a throwing error on her ground ball to third base.
In a three-inning junior varsity contest, Michaela Riggs went 2-for-2 and had the game-winning RBI in a 7-6 victory.
Sullivan also drove home two runs in the game with Carly Jackson adding two hits with an RBI. Sloan Miller and Allie Miller each had a hit.
The Eels improve to 3-2 this season and are scheduled to host Cloverdale at 4:30 p.m. today.
At Clay City
|Collenbaugh (W, 2-0)||7.0||1||0||2||11|