Times Staff Reporter
CLAY CITY -- The Clay City softball season came to a close after an eight-inning sectional loss to Shakamak Tuesday, 4-3.
In the third inning, down 1-0, Clay City's Ali Souder smacked a double into shallow left-center, and was able to reach third on the next batter, Shaya Stevenson's ground out. Abby Reed was up next and singled bringing Souder home to knot the game at one run apiece.
However, the tie didn't last long as Clay City's defense struggled in the bottom of the inning allowing the Lakers to get two more runs.
In the fifth inning, Clay City got back to its scoring ways on a double by Maria Walton, which sent Reed home, bringing the score to 3-2.
After some solid defense, the Eels held the Lakers scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings, setting themselves up to tie or take the lead in the top of the seventh.
The Eels got back-to-back singles from Madison Booe and Walton, before Emmie Kittle laid down a bunt, which scored Booe and tied the game at three.
But despite having two runners on base, Clay City was unable to score any more runs in the remainder of the inning.
The Eels got into a jam defensively in the bottom of the seventh, but a throw out at home and two groundouts after the bases were loaded gave Clay City another chance in extra innings.
However, Clay City was held scoreless in the top of the eighth, which set the stage for a game-winning single by Shakamak's Kelsey Pilant.
Clay City's head coach Jason Sinders said his team got into some tough positions.
"We shouldn't have been in the position we were in," Sinders said. "We made some (errors tonight) ... that was our key, we knew if we could keep the errors down we would be OK. Shakamak came ready to play, they hit the ball really well -- they just did what they needed to do (to win the game)."
Sinders said he liked what he saw from his team on a mental toughness level, which is something he's been working on all year.
"We've really been working all year on getting mentally tough -- that was kind of our problem from the get-go," Sinders said. "We got tougher, we buckled down and we didn't quit by (any) means. We were down 3-1 and came back, that's the name of the game is getting these kids (to learn to) battle back.
"I hated that we couldn't get it done especially for our seniors, because they don't have another shot. We just didn't get over the hump, we got them bleeding a little bit but we just couldn't finish them off."
At Clay City
1B CC 11 (Stevenson 1, Reed 2, Booe 1, Walton 1, Kittle 3, Souder 3), Shak. 12 (Martin 1, Crane 1, Samm 2, Chesterfield 2, Pilant 3, Miller 2, Bickley 1). 2B 3 (Booe, Walton, Souder), Shak. 1 (Samm). HR CC 0, Shak. 1 (Crane).