Lady ’Dawgs cruise
CLAYSBURG – The Claysburg-Kimmel softball team was like a shark smelling the blood in the water during Monday’s District 6 Class A quarterfinal game against Purchase Line.
Whenever PL would commit an error or have the slightest bobble, the Lady Bulldogs pounced by taking the extra base.
C-K took advantage of five extra base hits and four errors while pitcher Kiersten Coho, fresh off of a long layoff, tossed a two-hitter, struck out nine and walked one in a 10-0 romp in five innings.
“They play a different style than we’ve seen all year in the Heritage Conference,” PL coach and Glendale graduate Mike Ninosky said of C-K. “Even the Marion Centers and Blairsvilles don’t play the way that they do, where a single literally turns into a double every time. They just wore us down. I tip my hat to them.”
“I stress that all the time that it’s up to them to take the extra base when a team bobbles the ball at all,” C-K coach Mike Barbarini said. “That puts us in scoring position. Rather having to get two hits, we only need to get one hit to get them in.”
C-K (18-3) advanced to the semifinals to play West Branch, an 8-3 winner over Bishop Carroll, at 4 p.m. Thursday at home.
C-K smelled blood early. Abigayle Kulick scored from first base on a Mallory Cox double to left field in the first inning.
In the second inning, No. 9 hitter Rachel Walter fouled off a number of two-out pitches from Kira Smith before tripling to right field. Madison Ickes plated her with a double to left-center, and she later scored on a Kulick infield hit.
“Rachel does that all the time,” Barbarini said. “She’s a battler. She was somebody we put in their because of injuries, and she took advantage of her chance.
Ickes had a big game from the leadoff spot, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and three runs scored. Kulick, the No. 2 hitter, went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
“Madison has been solid all year,” Barbarini said. “She’s batting over .450, and that’s why she’s batting up there. When she gets on, we can steal and do so much.”
The Lady Bulldogs, who scored two unearned runs in the third and another in the fourth, led 6-0 after the first four innings, which more than enough for Coho, who had been off for a week-and-a-half after pitching in a doubleheader against Mount Union. Coho gave up hits in the first two innings, but PL went hitless the rest of the way.
“She was sore after pitching 14 innings in one day against Mount Union, and the playoffs were set,” Barbarini said, “so we decided to play our next three games pitching somebody else and let her rest for the playoffs.”
“She was solid,” Ninosky said. “She works the ball around and has good speed. “We’d get a hit here or there or a walk, and then she’d make the pitch and shut us right down. We couldn’t get anything going at all.”
C-K will now get ready for Thursday’s semifinal against West Branch.
“Thursday is going to be a battle,” Barbarini said. “They have to come here and play on our home field, so we get a little bit of an advantage.
PURCHASE LINE (0): Stover c 300, Abrams cf 201, St. Clair ss 200, Smith p 200, McCullough 3b 201, Elling 1b 200, Yeager 2b 200, Mertens dp 200, Bell rf 100, Scott lf 000. Totals – 18-0-2.
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL (10): Ickes 2b 433, Kulick rf 413, Cox c 301, Coho p 200, Gerheim cr 010, Morgan 3b 210, Claycomb ss 311, Glass 1b 300, Dively cf 312, Walter lf 321. Totals – 27-10-11.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Purchase Line000 00X X-0 2 4
Claysburg-Kimmel122 14X X-10 11 1
E-Abrams, Elling, Bell 2; Ickes. 2B-Ickes 2, Cox. 3B-Dively, Walter. RBI-Ickes 2, Kulick 3, Cox, Claycomb, Dively. SB-St. Clair, Morgan. LOB-Purchase Line 4, Claysburg-Kimmel 5.
Purchase Line: Smith (L)-4 IP, 11 H, 10 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO.
Claysburg-Kimmel-Coho (W)-5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO.
Records: Purchase Line (9-7); Claysburg-Kimmel (18-3).