Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- Errors played a large role in Tuesday's Clay County softball match-up as Northview turned eight Clay City errors into six unearned runs on the way to a 7-5 victory over the Eels.
Whitney Halfhill and Ashley Hughes reached on two-out errors in the third inning for the Knights to set up a two-run double by Alyssa Conrad. The Knights tallied three runs in the fourth frame, again with two outs, as Kindra Cox singled to centerfield before Madison Nevins doubled her home for Northview's lone earned run of the evening. However, Halfhill reached on another error on a throw to first and Nevins came in to score on a second error on the play. Ashley Hughes followed with a run-scoring single to put Northview ahead 5-2.
"(Northview) is a very nice team and is very well coached," Clay City coach Jason Sinders said. "When we didn't make a play, (Northview) made us pay. They've got a great hitter in (Taylor) Carter, (Alyssa) Conrad and (Ashley) Hughes. It seemed like every time we made a mistake, one of those guys were up next. We just have to work a little bit harder and play a little harder."
"Alyssa (Conrad) is really stroking it good right now," Northview coach Bethany Jones said of her clean-up hitter. "She had a home run last night and has got some confidence in herself right now."
More frustrating for the Eels was the fact that each time, Clay City's offense got them back in the game.
In the third inning, a single by Mariah Walton preceded back-to-back RBI triples by Whitney Jeffers and freshman Emmie Kittle to knot the score at 2-2.
"We're capable from top to bottom. If we ever get to where we put it together, I think we'll be pretty tough to beat," Sinders said. "Defensively you have to make plays. You just can't outscore everybody."
Trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Clay City got to Northview starter Whitney Halfhill, drawing walks by Shaya Stevenson and Madison Booe. The Knights went to Carter to relieve Halfhill in the circle and Walton drew a walk to load the bases.
Jeffers laid down a sacrifice bunt to score Stevenson and Kittle followed with an RBI single to narrow the gap to 5-4 for the Eels.
Northview was able to get out of further danger as Abby Reed's grounder to the pitcher resulted in Walton being tagged out at the plate and Rachael Cottrell popped up to end the threat.
The Knights extended their lead in the seventh inning as Carter walked and Conrad reached on an error on her fielder's choice grounder to second. Both runners were safe and Hope Torbert loaded the bases with a walk.
Poised to break the game open, the Knights nearly came up empty as Kylie McKee hit a grounder and Carter was forced out at the plate. Tori Tilley popped up for the second out, but Kindra Cox came to the plate and smacked a two-run single to bring home Conrad and pinch-runner Melissa Lummis.
"I think we're getting better at being aggressive when runners are in scoring position," Jones said. "Kindra (Cox) came through for us at the end. It was nice to see that from the bottom of the lineup again."
Facing a 7-4 deficit in their last at-bat, Clay City didn't' back down as Walton was hit-by-pitch and moved to second on a passed ball. Kittle brought her home with a two-out single for her third RBI of the game.
The Eels wouldn't get any closer however as Carter finished off her save by getting Reed to lineout to end the game.
The Knights (5-2 overall) host Shakamak on Thursday at 5 p.m. and the Eels (4-2 overall) travel to Sullivan on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
At Clay City
2B -- Nv (Conrad, Nevins), CC (None). 3B -- CC (Kittle, Jeffers).
|Jeffers (L, 4-2)||7.0||7||5||3||3|
|Halfhill (W, 2-0)||4.0||5||5||3||0|
|Carter (S, 1)||3.0||1||2||1||3|