ORANGE PARK – A handful of “odd” errors was not enough to stop the Clay High softball team from taking a key district win over rival Ridgeview High as the Blue Devils scored a 7-3 in March 27 …
ORANGE PARK – A handful of “odd” errors was not enough to stop the Clay High softball team from taking a key district win over rival Ridgeview High as the Blue Devils scored a 7-3 in March 27 at Ridgeview High School.
Clay pitcher Morgan Crutcher, with six strikeouts against the loaded Ridgeview batting lineup, dominated the game from the mound except for a few grounders to her glove that wound up with overblown throws to first base and Panther opportunity.
Clay maintains a one game advantage as the district 4-6A leader at 3-0, 10-6 overall, with Ridgeview dropping to 6-2, 12-4 overall. Ponte Vedra and Menendez both have three district losses.
Despite the mishaps, Clay perservered behind strong hitting from Rachel DeNapoli who doubled in her first at bat then punched a two run double in the sixth to push Clay to a 4-2 lead after Crutcher and Ridgeview pitcher Brittany Michael both got stellar defensive plays from their teammates to keep the score tight.
Ridgeview scored first off the first throwing mishap from Crutcher to first baseman Sydney Lewis after hitting Sarah Anderson who moved on a sacrifice bunt from Brooke Michael.
Ridgeview shortstop Hannah Foster made the first of two outstanding stabs on Clay hits with a diving knockdown of a Delaney Anfinson grounder that froze Anfinson at first base. Michael responded with two strikeouts to end the inning.
Singles from Kaitlyn Kumpf and Marianne McDonald plus an error on a DeNapoli grounder set up an RBI single from Lewis deep into centerfield that scored two runs for a 2-1 Clay lead.
Crutcher got a strike out on her first batter, but got stellar defense from McDonald, at shortstop, who snared a Chloe Chambers’ grounder then bounced up to throw wide of Lewis who got a tag for the out.
In the fourth, Ridgeview benefited from a McDonald error on a Ashlyn Halford grounder that became a tying run with Brittany Michael hitting an RBI blooper single to centerfield.
Crutcher again misfired on a grounder throw to first base to create bases loaded for Ridgeview, but dug down for a strike out to end the inning.
In the sixth, Clay’s bats exploded with singles from Lewis and Anfinson setting up a fielder’s choice bunt from Dakota Worley to put runners at second and third. Crutcher would answer with a single that scored Anfinson with Kumpf tacking on one more with a single to push a 4-2 score before DeNapoli punched an RBI single to right field for a 5-2 score.
A third throwing misfire to first from Crutcher put two Panther baserunners on base. McDonald squashed a Sarah Anderson grounder to get an out at second, but Foster blipped a short grounder to Crutcher who kept the ball in her glove and allowed Anderson to score for a 5-3 game. Again, Crutcher dug in and struck out Chambers to end the inning.
An Anfinson RBI double and a RBI single to Jorge-Silva scored the last two runs for Clay.