CLAYSBURG - Ronette Claar hadn't pitched in almost two weeks because of arm soreness.
If the Claysburg-Kimmel star was rusty, it didn't show on a sunny Monday against Conemaugh Valley in the District 6 Class A quarterfinals.
Claar struck out eight of the first nine batters, finished with 12 strikeouts, tossed a two-hitter and went 2-for-3 with a double to lead the second-seeded Lady Bulldogs to a 3-0 win over the seventh-seeded Blue Jays.
"I think I did good for my first day back," said Claar, who had the CV batters chasing her riser and screwball. "I thought as long as we hit, I knew we'd win because we've got our defense, and our defense is pretty solid."
"I'm always happy with the win," C-K coach Mike Barbarini said. "Ronette coming back off an injury was strong early. She tired out a little bit at the end. She needs to get some stamina back, but we're working on it."
"I don't think I ever have a problem with Ronette pitching," senior right fielder Sam Barnes said. "Sometimes I think we [pressure] on her too much like 'Ronette is pitching, so we can lay back and relax.' "
C-K (17-4) will host third-seeded Northern Cambria, which won a 17-15 shootout over Homer-Center, at 4 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals.
While Claar did her job in the pitching circle, No. 7 hitter Barnes provided the offensive support. Barnes went 2-for-3 and knocked in the first two runs with a two-out single to left off of Holly Glass in the fourth inning.
"My hitting has not been very good lately," Barnes said, "so I tried to step it up today. We're in playoffs now, and if we lose, then we're done. I like [pitches] outside, but it was inside. I was in front of it."
"We've been looking for that two-out hit all year, and she got one," Barbarini said. "She hasn't [been hitting], and we gave her a couple days rest. She worked hard in practice at hitting line drives, and she got a hold of that one and put it down the line."
Barnes would have had three RBIs, but her second-inning sacrifice fly turned into a double play when the umpire ruled that Courtlin Holland left too early after tagging up at third base.
"That was a mistake," Barbarini said. "She thought all she had to do was tag the bag and go, but she took off too early."
Liz Shiffla's bunt single in the fifth broke up Claar's no-hitter. Kelsey Ickes added the third run in the bottom of the inning with a one-out single to center that plated Claar.
The Lady Bulldogs will now get ready for Northern Cambria with Claar a little less rusty in the circle.
"We don't want to underestimate anybody," Claar said, "but we still want to be a little confident."
CONEMAUGH VALLEY (0): Kist 2b 300, Cekada ss 300, Britton lf 301, Pollins c 300, Shiffla rf 301, Peransky cf 300, Glass p 200, Reynolds 3b 000, Angus 3b 100, Justinus 1b 200. Totals - 23-0-2.
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL (3): Claar p 312, Ickes 1b 301, Long pr 000, Harten c 300, Holland 3b 302, Kulick pr 010, Fleck 2b 211, Brumbaugh cf 300, Barnes rf 302, Cox ss 300, Ritchey lf 200. Totals - 25-3-8.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Conemaugh Valley000 000 0-0 2 1
Claysburg-Kimmel000 210 X-3 8 0
E-Angus. SAC-Fleck. SB-Claar. DP-Conemaugh Valley. 2B-Claar. RBI-Barnes 2, Ickes. HBP-Glass.
Conemaugh Valley: Glass (L)-6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO.
Claysburg-Kimmel: Claar (W)-7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 SO.
Records: Conemaugh Valley (10-8); Claysburg-Kimmel (17-4).