Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- Over the last couple of seasons, the Clay City Eels and North Central softball programs have developed quite a burgeoning rivalry.
The two teams split a regular season, Tri-River Conference game and a sectional game last year with the Eels claiming the postseason victory, 3-2.
On Monday night, the Thunderbirds got another strong pitching performance from Ashli Scott and took advantage of four Clay City errors and six walks to gain another TRC victory, 7-2.
Scott, coming off a no-hitter versus White River Valley last Thursday, got plenty of offensive support and held the Eels at bay with just three hits.
North Central got on the board in the first inning as Megan Stone blasted a solo home run to gain the early advantage.
The story for the Eels offensively was the lack of a key hit over the early stages of the game as Clay City left runners on second and third in the first inning and had the bases loaded in the second inning, but was unable to dent the scoreboard.
The Thunderbirds meanwhile did the most they could without posting a single hit.
North Central scored four times in the third inning without a base hit.
Targett allowed four straight walks to lead off the frame to get the inning started.
Number nine hitter, Rachel Croft drew the first walk and both Maria Drake and Scott walked to load the bases. Stone then added her second RBI with a walk to bring in Croft for a 2-0 lead.
North Central catcher, Alainey Thompson, then hit an infield grounder, but the throw to the plate for an attempted force play was unsuccessful as all runners reached safely for a 3-0 T-Birds' lead. Targett got the inning's first out on a foul out. However, Katie Brown hit a grounder to second base to score Scott and the throw to first was errant. The error brought home the fourth run of the inning.
Targett was able to escape any further damage by getting the next two batters to pop out. However, with a 5-0 lead, Scott was in firm control of the contest.
The Eels chipped one run off the North Central advantage in the fifth as Madison Booe walked, then moved to third on two passed balls. She then scored on a wild pitch as Shaya Stevenson walked on the play. However, Stevenson was thrown out while straying too far from first base after the play at the plate. The out loomed even larger as Targett followed with a single and Michaela Riggs was hit-by-pitch with two outs. Scott got out of the jam by coaxing a groundout by Allie Miller.
North Central answered back with two runs in the top of the sixth inning spurred by an infield single by Drake and an RBI single by Thompson, who advanced to third on a throwing error on the play. Adara Crooks brought home the seventh T-Birds' run with an RBI single to leftfield.
Trailing 7-1, Clay City mounted a seventh inning rally on a walk by Karen Treadway and a single by Booe. North Central got the inning's first out on a fielder's choice grounder as the T-Birds got Treadway on a force out at third base. After the runners moved into scoring position on a passed ball, walks to Targett and Allie Miller brought home a two-out run. However, Scott got the final out as Abby Reed popped out to end the contest.
Clay City drops to 10-5 overall and 0-1 in the TRC while North Central improves to 7-4 overall and 1-1 in the TRC.
At Clay City
2B -- NC (Brown). HR -- NC (Stone).
|Targett (L, 9-5)||7.0||7||7||6||5|