Your Prep Sports
OXFORD – With youth and inexperience comes jubilation and frustration as the Clear Creek Amana softball team showed on Wednesday.
The Clippers used the pitching of freshman Raina Henze, aggressive base running and near-flawless defense to defeat sixth-ranked West Delaware 2-0 in the first game of a doubleheader.
The chance for a sweep unraveled in the second game, however, as Clear Creek committed six errors and was held to five hits during a 9-0 loss.
“I think it’s definitely a young team, without question,” first-year coach Matt Trosky said of the Clippers, whose roster consists of just two seniors, three juniors, five sophomores, four freshmen and two eighth graders. “We as a staff talk about collectively how we need to play as a team. We have the mantra, team before me, and in that first game tonight, team before me, everybody was always positive, always working, always being together.
“In that second game, we got down on ourselves a little bit and we’ve got to get back on track with just the fundamental things.”
Freshman shortstop Karysn Stratton led off the bottom of the first inning with a single in the first game. She then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Riley Hennes.
However, Stratton kept running after seeing third base unoccupied. She then scored on a wild throw to third base.
Trosky was so excited to see his team manufacture an early run that he nearly ran to home plate with Stratton.
“I definitely get very excited,” Trosky said. “We do as a staff, not just me. We get very excited.
“But I’ll tell you what, Karysn is just a heady player. A lot of these girls are.”
Henze would make that run stand as she scattered eight hits and had five strikeouts while going the distance.
She also was the beneficiary of some nifty defensive plays by her teammates as the Clippers only committed one error in the first game.
“We’re such a big defensive team,” Henze said. “We’re still working on the offensive aspect. But I’m really proud of all the girls. They’ve been working really hard in the infield with all the new stuff are new coaches have been throwing at them and the new techniques they want us to do.
“And they’re just unstoppable. It was great to see.”
The Clippers also were lucky in the first game when West Delaware pinch runner Eva Winn slipped while rounding third base with what would’ve have been the tying run in the sixth inning. She was tagged out, leaving the score at 1-0.
The Clippers added an insurance in the bottom of the sixth as Hennes scored on a single by Ainsley Schrock. Hennes also had reached base with a single.
Clear Creek prevailed in the first game despite being held to just four hits against sophomore pitcher Emily Klostermann. Neither team had an extra-base hit in the first game.
West Delaware rebounded in the second game behind the pitching of freshman Macey Kleitsch, who allowed just five hits while going the distance. The Hawks were leading 3-0 when they erupted for five runs in the fourth inning on six hits.
West Delaware is now 7-1 on the season, while Clear Creek’s record is even at 3-3.
“We are a good ball club, we believe we can play with anybody,” Trosky said. “West Delaware is a heck of a team. There is no doubt it, some great pitching, especially in that second game.
“But we have to be on our toes and ready to go for both games. We’ve got to come out both games firing.”
Henze came out firing in the first game in what was just her fourth varsity appearance.
“It’s pretty exciting,’ she said. “I’m just really excited to see everybody out here having a good time and working together.”
Henze said it helped that her team scored an early run in the first game because she was able to pitch with the lead.
“It’s pretty big to me,” she said. “The first run seemed to keep us up the whole game and kept us excited and in the game.”
West Delaware 000 000 0 – 0 8 2
Clear Creek 100 001 x – 2 4 1
Emily Klostermann and Maleah Georgen; Raina Henze and Lydia Banwart.
West Delaware 012 501 0 – 9 11 0
Clear Creek 000 000 0 – 0 5 6
Macey Kleitsch and Maleah Georgen; Peyton Grafft, Jaelyn Ernst (5) and Lydia Banwart. 2B – West Delaware (Paighton Lindauer, Claire Demmer_, Clear Creek (Karysn Stratton).