Times Sports Editor
The Clay City Eels haven't had much success on the softball diamond against their in-county neighbors lately. On Tuesday however, all those memories were erased as Clay City held the Knights to just one hit and scored late for a 7-0 victory.
Clay City junior hurler, Shelby Targett, earned the first win of her career over the Knights in style, striking out 13 batters in the shutout victory.
"We're blessed to have two good pitchers," Clay City coach Roger Rhodes said. "I told the girls on the way over here that if we could score some runs, if Shelby was on, she'd take care of the rest."
Targett was certainly on, following up a no-hitter in her last outing against North Knox, by allowing only a first inning double by the Knights' Alyssa Conrad. The only other base runners reached on walks in the second, sixth and seventh innings along with a runner in the fourth via an error.
Early on, the Knights' Shelby Colson was matching Targett's zeros on the scoreboard, keeping the Eels scoreless over the first three innings and not allowing a hit over the first four frames.
However, control issues began to mount as Colson walked four and hit a batter over the third and fourth innings.
The Eels loaded the bases in the third inning on walks by Stephanie Granger, Karen Treadway and Carli Jackson. Colson however, coaxed a groundout by Tasha Collenbaugh to escape the jam.
In the fourth inning, the Eels got a lead off walk from Targett and another from Abby Reed before Colson struck out Granger and got a groundout from Sloan Miller.
Patience proved to be a key ingredient in the Eels' winning rally as Emily Phillips came in to replace Colson in the fifth inning.
Clay City's third baseman, Treadway, drew a lead off walk and proceeded to steal both second and third to set the plate for her teammates. Shaya Stevenson followed with a walk and moved up to second before Carli Jackson reached on a free pass as well.
Phillips' night was over after loading the bases and Colson returned to the circle.
Collenbaugh came to the plate and attempted to bunt, she missed contact as Treadway came racing home and ended up in a rundown. The Knights threw wild back to the plate and Treadway scored the game's first run with both runners advancing.
Collenbaugh eventually drew a walk, one of 11 by Knights' pitchers, before Target helped her own cause by looping a single just inside the rightfield line.
The blooper brought both Stevenson and pinch-runner, Allie Souder, home for a 3-0 lead. The lead grew to 4-0 on a wildpitch by Colson that brought home Collenbaugh.
"Our pitchers struggled," Jones said of the Knights. "Shelby threw a lot of pitches."
Rhodes agreed with the thought that patience was the key to the Eels' win over the Knights.
"I told the girls to be patient and swing at strikes," Rhodes confirmed. "These girls can be as good as they want to be."
Clay City left no doubt about the win by adding some insurance in their half of the seventh inning as a couple of mental mistakes by the Knights aided a three-run outburst by the Eels.
Targett reached after being hit by the Knights' Sarah Phillips, who took to the mound for the final two innings. Allie Miller walked and Reed shot a short, fly single into centerfield to load the bases. The Knights got the first out when Granger hit a grounder that forced Targett out at home. But Sloan Miller stepped up and smacked a single to center to bring home Allie Miller.
Treadway finished the damage when she drove a single to center that scored both Reed and Granger when the throw didn't go home.
"I think I was most disappointed in the lack of effort and hustle in the field, at the plate and in between innings," Jones said. "There are no excuses."
Targett wrapped up her pitching gem by striking out the final two batters of the game after allowing a one out walk to Kirstin Kimball.
"This is big," Rhodes said of the victory. "We haven't beaten (Northview) for a while and Shelby pitched great and I can't say enough about Allie (Miller) behind the plate. Shelby's pitches move a lot and she caught a heck of a game. Sloan Miller has been struggling some at the plate and she got a big hit. This is going to give us some extra confidence."
Despite the first loss of the young season for the Knights, Jones said Northview will get back to work to improve the team.
"We'll learn from this," Jones said. "We made some mental errors and we'll go back to work to fix what we did tonight. We've got Shakamak on Thursday night, we'll just put this game behind us."
The Eels (4-2 overall) host Sullivan on Thursday night at 4:30 p.m. and the Knights (2-1 overall) play a 5 p.m. game the same evening.
2B -- Nv (Colson).
|Colson (L, 2-1)||5.0||1||1||7||7|
|Targett (W, 3-2)||7.0||0||1||3||13|