Times Sports Editor
The Clay City softball program has been one of the areas best over the last several seasons and is coming off an 18-12 season in which it lost in the sectional championship game to North Central (Farmersburg).
One of the biggest tasks at hand this year will be replacing four-year starting pitcher Shelby Targett, who helped guide the team to a 70-33 record during her career with the Eels. Clay City claimed a sectional championship during her freshman year before losing 1-0 in 13 innings to Tecumseh in the regional title game.
Clay City is charged with replacing three seniors from last year's squad and has a youthful roster that includes six freshmen and a single senior.
The Eels return six members of their starting lineup from that sectional contest last year, which gives Clay City a strong base to build upon.
In the season opener the Eels were without a pair of starters, who didn't have enough practices in to play against West Vigo, a 9-2 defeat.
At the top of the lineup, Clay City appears to be intact as Shaya Stevenson returns after hitting .289 and supplying the Eels with speed from her outfield position. Stevenson also scored 20 times and drove in 13 runs while setting the plate by reaching base more than 40 percent of the time.
Abby Reed has experience playing shortstop and manned third base in the opener after driving in 10 runs and scoring 16 times last year. In the third spot in the order, Madison Booe is the top returning hitter for the Eels after providing a .355 average in a team-high 113 plate appearances. She played shortstop against West Vigo after seeing time at catcher last season. She also provided a pair of homeruns last year with 20 RBI and scored a team-high 30 times.
With some lineup turnover, Clay City coach Roger Rhodes noted that he's still looking for the right defensive combination as the season opens.
"This is learning for us, the first few games," Rhodes said. "We've got some players we're looking at in positions that might change. We've got some spots we need to fill and the big thing is that we had a couple of our veterans that weren't out there tonight. I'm not using that as an excuse, but that does make a difference."
Allie Miller will be a regular in the lineup and opened the season at second base after hitting .186 last year. She scored 12 runs and added three doubles for the Eels.
One of Clay City's freshmen, Whitney Jeffers, opened the season in the circle for the Eels and performed well over the final innings against a hot-hitting Vikings squad. Jeffers held West Vigo hitless with three strikeouts over the final three frames and also added a two-run single. Her classmate, Alex Wolfe, started at first base for Clay City and added a single.
Ali Souder returns for her junior year and will man one of the outfield spots after seeing 58 plate appearances and Chloe Kittle also should see time after hitting .214 in 15 plate appearances.
Karen Treadway is the lone senior on the squad and is available at catcher as well as third base, the position she played last season when she hit .339 over 80-plate appearances. She also scored 19 times and drove in 12.
Freshman Chelsea Finchum started in the outfield in the opener along with junior Kendall Fowler. Freshmen Ashton Stevenson and Dani Tincher round out the roster for the Eels this season.
Clay City High School Girls Softball
|Tue. 3/29||at West Vigo High School||5 p.m.|
|Thur. 3/31||at Rockville High School||5 p.m.|
|Thur. 4/7||vs. North Knox High School||5 p.m.|
|Fri. 4/8||vs. Cloverdale High School||4:30 p.m.|
|Sat 4/9||at Barr Reeve Invitational||9 a.m.|
|Mon. 4/11||vs. Shakamak High School||4:30 p.m.|
|Tue. 4/12||at Northview High School||4:30 p.m.|
|Thur. 4/14||vs. Sullivan High School||4:30 p.m.|
|Sat. 4/16||vs. North Vermillion High School||11 a.m.|
|Mon. 4/18||at White River Valley High School||4:30 p.m.|
|Tue. 4/19||at Riverton Parke High School||5 p.m.|
|Thur. 4/21||vs. Terre Haute North High School||5 p.m.|
|Sat. 4/23||at Turkey Run High School||11 a.m.|
|Mon. 4/25||at North Central High School||4:30 p.m.|
|Tue. 4/26||at Linton||4:30 p.m.|
|Thur. 4/28||vs. Owen Valley High School||4:30 p.m.|
|Mon. 5/2||at Union High School||4:30 p.m.|
|Tue. 5/3||at South Putnam High School||4:30 p.m.|
|Thur. 5/5||at North Daviess High School||5 p.m.|
|Mon. 5/9||at Terre Haute High School||5 p.m.|
|Thur. 5/12||vs. Eminence High School||5 p.m.|
|Mon. 5/16||vs. Bloomfield High School||4:30 p.m.|
|Thur. 5/19||vs. Eastern High School||4:30 p.m.|
|Mon. 5/23||vs. Sectional||5 p.m.|
|Tue. 5/24||vs. Sectional||5 p.m.|
|Wed. 5/25||vs. Sectional||TBA|