SHEFFIELD TWP. — With Clearview’s Sarah Kaya and Black River’s Dagmar Smith in the pitcher’s circle Tuesday it was a given that runs would be hard to come by. What nobody realized was that one run would win it all.
Clippers catcher Angelica Flecha doubled to lead off the first inning and scored on a wild pitch as Clearview defeated the Pirates 1-0 in a Patriot Athletic Conference game.
The pitchers duel between Kaya and Smith materialized just as expected with the two aces combining to allow no earned runs, no walks and 20 strikeouts — 11 by Kaya.
Clearview (4-2, 2-1 PAC) started strong, with Flecha advancing to third on a passed ball after doubling to left-center field.
“You always want to come out aggressively because if you can get one or two early runs it really excites the team and gets everyone pumped up,” Flecha said. “Coach (Denny Myers) always tells us it’s important to do whatever it takes to score that first run of the game.”
With the one run in her pocket, Kaya retired 10 of the first 11 Pirates hitters before Hannah Messenger and Megan Scott hit back-to-back singles in the fourth inning. Kaya worked out of that jam thanks to the quick thinking of third baseman Chelsea Kincer, who caught Messenger straying too far off of third base on a groundball and caught her in a rundown that eventually ended with Flecha tagging the sliding Messenger at home for the second out of the inning.
An inning later, Black River (4-3, 3-1) led off with a pair of infield singles, but again Kaya settled down to retire the next three hitters to keep the Pirates scoreless.
“It was a quality win against a quality team,” Myers said. “If you watch Sarah’s expressions out there she pretty much has ice running through her veins. She always remains cool and composed even in tough situations.”
When Kaya wasn’t mowing down the opponents on the rubber, she was taking charge in the batter’s box. She had two of the Clippers’ three hits, with singles in the fourth and sixth innings. Courtesy runner Taleiya Jackson took Kaya’s spot on the base paths and did her job well, stealing three bases.
“I know Dagmar is a really amazing pitcher, so runs were going to be tough to come by,” Kaya said. “I was hitting my pitches in big spots. It made me more comfortable when we got that first run. Everyone likes to pitch when they are ahead.”
Smith only allowed four Clearview hitters to reach base and never faced more than four batters in an inning.
“It was a good solid softball game,” Black River coach Lauren Toth said. “We had two innings when we had a chance to score and just didn’t come though — that’s how this game works sometimes. Dagmar pitched really well, especially when you consider she has not pitched in a week. We played solid defense, we made contact with the ball. We are a young team … I am confident the big hits will come.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.