Cavender slugs C-K to victory
CLAYSBURG — Claysburg-Kimmel’s Harleigh Cavender had hit four home runs heading into Monday’s District 6 Class 1A quarterfinal game against Williamsburg.
The catcher added two more on back-to-back at-bats with the second giving the Lady Bulldogs the eventual winning run in a 6-4 victory over the sixth-seeded Lady Blue Pirates.
“Harleigh’s been a rock all year — hitting the ball solid,” Claysburg-Kimmel coach Mike Barbarini said. “… She hits quality pitching well.”
Williamsburg rallied for three runs in the six, one more in the seventh, and had enough runners on to tie the contest, but C-K pitcher Olivia Bushore got Ashley Brubaker to fly out to center fielder Megan Hartman, who had to sprint in to make the catch, to end the game.
“I’m very proud of them,” Williamsburg coach Deb Fay said of her team. “They did very well this year.”
Third-seeded Claysburg (17-4) got on the board with just the second batter, as Jazmin Kennedy laid down a sacrifice bunt that scored Emily Claar, who reached on a single, stole second and went to third when Williamsburg catcher Alexi McMonagle overthrew second base.
With the way Bushore, who struck out nine and walked one, was pitching, it appeared like that was the only run the Lady Bulldogs needed.
Cavender, who struck out in the first following the Kennedy sac bunt, came out in the third with a different approach. She made the Lady Blue Pirates (11-9) pay with a two-run homer to center on the first pitch she saw from Elizabeth Frederick that also scored Kennedy.
“My first at-bat when I struck out, that really made me want to hit the ball,” Cavender said. “So, I got up there, I didn’t swing hard (but) I just made sure I met the ball.”
The sophomore delivered a solo shot to right in the bottom of the fifth to raise her season total to six homers, with three being hit off the hard-throwing Frederick.
“I said, ‘we should have walked her there’ when she hit that solo home run because it would have been tied 3-3′,” Fay said. “But, Liz is a good pitcher and she has a passion for the game.”
“I’d say (her) speed — just making contact with her,” Cavender said about the key to hitting off of Frederick.
In the top of the sixth, Bushore appeared to tire and Williamsburg took advantage. Frederick reached on a Bushore throwing error to first than went to second after the ball went out of play.
Kaelyn Calderwood came up next and hit the ball right back to Bushore who froze and didn’t make a throw to either base.
Bushore, a sophomore, regrouped and struck out Ashley Brubaker. On the swing and miss, Calderwood took off for second and Cavender threw down to second. Upon receiving the throw, C-K’s Emily Claar saw Frederick heading for home and rather than tag the runner to get the out, Claar threw home but was late as the Lady Pirates finally got on the board.
Barbarini came out on the mound for a talk, but it didn’t appear to work. Williamsburg’s Marissa Harclerode smashed a Bushore pitch over the center field fence to pull her team within one at 4-3.
“Once they got within 4-3, we came right back,” Barbarini said. “I told the girls right before the game that the only way they were going to score runs is if we give them runs. We made a few mistakes there and they capitalized on them.”
Bushore got Desiree Kyle to fly out to Corryne Weyandt in left, and then had Morgan Webb hit one right back to her where she then threw onto Madison Knisley at first to end the inning.
The Lady Bulldogs responded in the bottom half of the inning to give themselves some breathing room. Courtesy runners Bailey Garver and Kassidi Rininger scored — Garver came across to score when Hartman reached on a Frederick error and Rininger touched home after tagging up on Claar’s sac fly to left fielder Caitlyn Kensinger.
“Against a good pitcher like her (Frederick), I knew we were going to have to grind out runs,” Barbarini said. “We executed some bunts when we needed to and made them make some mistakes.”
The Lady Blue Pirates weren’t about to throw in the towel in the top of the seventh as McMonagle singled with one out, then went to second on a Paige Gunnett hit off the arm of Bushore.
Frederick reached on a fielder’s choice as Rebekah Claar tossed onto sister Emily at second for the second out.
With two on, Calderwood singled to score McMonagle to set the eventual final before Brubaker flied out to Hartman to end the game.
The Lady Bulldogs will travel to second-seeded Portage on Thursday for a semifinal matchup. C-K defeated the Lady Mustangs earlier in the year by a 9-4 final.
“I thought everybody put the ball in play pretty well at the top part of our order,” Barbarini said.
WILLIAMSBURG (4): Frederick p 411, Calderwood ss 412, Brubaker 3b 400, Harclerode 1b 311, Kensinger lf 000, Kyle dp 301, Webb 2b 300, Smith rf 200, McMonagle c 311, Gunnett cf 301. Totals — 29 4 7.
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL (6): E. Claar ss 411, Kennedy rf 211, Cavender c 322, Reed 3b 400, Weyandt lf 200, Knisley 1b 301, Garver cr 010, Frye dp 200, Rininger cr 010, R. Claar 2b 200, Hartman cf 200. Totals — 24 6 5.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Williamsburg 000 003 1–4 7 5
Claysburg-Kimmel 102 012 X–6 5 1
E–McMonagle 2, Calderwood 2, Frederick, Bushore. HR–Harclerode, Cavender 2. RBI–Calderwood, Harclerode, Cavender 3, E. Claar, Kennedy, Hartman.
Williamsburg: Frederick (LP)– 6 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 6 SO, 1 HBP, 103 pitches–59 strikes
Claysburg-Kimmel: Bushore (WP) — 7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO, 114 pitches–75 strikes
Records: Williamsburg (11-9); Claysburg-Kimmel (17-4).