News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

June 7, 2014

Clay City softball bunts in winning run in 7th inning at semistate

AVON — Sometimes the difference between a great coaching move and a mistake is knowing your players. That was the reason Clay City coach Jason Sinders asked Maria Walton to bunt with two strikes in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday in the opening game of the Class A softball semistate at North Daviess High School.

Walton’s two-strike, two-out bunt allowed Harley Sinders to race home with the winning run that lifted the Eels to a 5-4 win over West Washington and in the semistate championship game.

“Maria Walton is the only kid on the planet [I would ask to do that]. I know her so well. She’ll take one, foul one and she’s probably the best bunter that we’ve got. [Then Senators] were playing us for the long ball, they were way back on us. We hit the ball so solid sometimes. We just went with it and it worked,” Sinders said.

Clay City built a 4-0 lead with three runs in the second inning and one in the fourth. West Washington [16-7] scored three runs in the fifth inning and one in the seventh to tie the score 4-4.

Sinders started Clay City’s rally with a one-out single to left field. One out later Alexis Price connected for a base hit and Sinders raced around to third base.

With two out and two strikes Walton and Sinders talked. After shaking off the shock of what the coach asked her to do, Walton put down the bunt.

“It’s really stressful to have two strikes with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. But I knew if I got it down Harley [Sinders] would make it [home safe]. I just had to make it to first so they couldn’t get me out,” Walton said.

That play erased a lot of questions. Clay City had a 4-0 lead and was in complete control until the fifth inning. West Washington tallied five of its ninth hits in the fifth inning off winning pitcher Whitney Jeffers.

“Sometimes in the fifth or sixth inning we just lose it a little,” Walton said.

But with the pressure was on in the seventh, the Eels executed.

“I felt like our kids just kept playing ball and that’s what helped us out,” Sinders said.

Alyssa Yocom and Haleigh Villain led Clay City’s nine-hit offense two hits each and Emmie Kittle had a double.

Clay City jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Price led off with a single to left field. After Lauren Galminas entered as a pinch runner, Kittle doubled over the right fielder to drive in the first run. Samantha Dyer received a walk. Jeffers and Villain dropped back-to-back bunt singles to load the bases.

Kittle scored on a passed ball and Dyer made it 3-0 when Yocom singled to center field.

The Eels made it 4-0 in the fourth when Dyer received a lead-off walk. Pinch runner Cassie Souder was bunted to second by Jeffers. Souder moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball.

West Washington cut Clay City’s lead to 4-3 with a three-run on five hits.

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