Times Staff Reporter
CLAY CITY -- One week removed from an upset over Class-A's top-ranked team, the Clay City softball team was left looking for the magic that made that win possible.
One night after a discouraging 7-2 loss to North Central, the Eels were easily beaten by a 10-0 Linton team by the score of 6-0.
After pitching out of trouble in the first three innings, Eels' starter Shelby Targett ran into a tumultuous fourth inning, which firmly swung the momentum into the Miners' favor.
Katie West led off the frame reaching on a very close infield single, while Jonica Ringo then reached on an error. Two batters later, Sam Butt drove in the game's first run with an RBI groundout.
After Targett forced the inning's second out, she worked the count full to Linton's Sam Butt.
Butt then came up with the biggest play of the game, blasting a two-run single to right. Steph Fougerousse then put an emphatic stamp on the inning, scoring Butt on a double.
Linton Coach Jill Flater said the one area of her team's game that needed improving was hitting, and said she thought Tuesday's performance went a long way towards them becoming a complete team.
"A few of our girls have been in a rut recently," Flater said, "and tonight we started to come out of it. This was one of our best offensive games of the year."
Linton added two more insurance runs in the sixth on a two-run homer by Darien Huffman.
The offensive output was more than enough for ace pitcher, Fougerousse, who added to her 3-for-3 performance at the plate with a complete game shutout on the mound. Fougerousse allowed just four hits while walking one and striking out nine.
The Eels weren't without their opportunities offensively. They placed runners in scoring position in the first, third and sixth innings respectively, but didn't come out with a single run.
Clay City coach Roger Rhodes said there were many contributing factors to his club's inability to score, including the loss of clean-up hitter Madison Sullivan to academic ineligibility, but stressed a great deal of their problems came down to a lack of focus.
"We just weren't very patient at the plate," Rhodes said. "Some girls were too aggressive, and some weren't aggressive enough."
With her team sitting pretty at 10-0, Flater said she was still looking for improvement from her team, but said they were getting very close to being exactly where she wanted them to be.
"There's always things we can work on," Flater said. "But we are looking good in most areas. We are trying to use each game as practice to where we need to be and we're getting there."
With the loss, Clay City falls to 10-6. A week ago, following their upset over Riverton Parke, Rhodes said his club "was finally starting to put it together" after a string of inconsistent play. Following two consecutive losses, he said they have definitely taken a step backwards, but stressed he was still confident they could still turn their season around.
"We're just not mentally tough yet," Rhodes said. "We've got to keep working hard and get our edge back. But we'll get there."
At Clay City
2B-- L (Fougerousse, West) CC (Targett). HR-- L (Huffman)