Your Prep Sports
OXFORD– Since a season-opening sweep at the hands of Class 4A No. 12 Marion Clear Creek Amana has been a different team.
An improved team. A more prepared team. A closer team.
“The first night out I don’t think we were prepared to play,” Clear Creek Amana co-head coach Jodie Scheetz said. “Marion is a good team but we didn’t come ready to play.”
Since opening night the Clippers have been a better team with a nearly perfect record.
Class 4A No. 13 Clear Creek Amana continued its torrid stretch on Wednesday with an emphatic sweep of Center Point-Urbana (7-13, 2-10) in a WAMAC West Division doubleheader in Oxford.
The Clippers won the opener 5-0 and took the nightcap 7-2 while improving to 18-3 on the season and 14-2 in conference play.
“Every day we talk about believing in themselves and being unselfish players,” Clear Creek Amana coach head coach Ken Thimmesch said. “The Marion game was kind of an eye opener and it’s been a matter of the young kids growing and kids getting comfortable.”
Clear Creek Amana has been nearly unbeatable since dropping games 2-1 and 17-7 at Marion back on May 24.
The Clippers pushed their WAMAC winning streak to 14 straight with the sweep on Wednesday and have won 18 of their last 19 games with the lone loss coming last Saturday to Van Buren.
“We don’t want to say that we are going to win every single game but that’s the mentality,” senior shortstop Gabrielle Bedford said. “We want to show up and play our game and if we win, we win and right now that’s what we are doing.”
Clear Creek Amana has followed a familiar formula during its string of success using strong pitching, flawless defense and a balanced offensive approach that features six players with double digit RBIs on the season.
That formula was on full display against Center Point-Urbana on Wednesday.
“Our pitchers have been doing great and we work really hard on defense and I think that’s how we’ve been winning these games,” senior Ella Miller said. “The hitting will come but the defense is the most important part of the game.”
Sophomore Ashley Webb spun a five-hit shutout in the opener, striking out five and walking one while improving to 10-2 on the season.
“My drop curve and back door curve were working,” Webb said. “My arm speed, posture and body language were good and my curve was moving.”
Clear Creek Amana got an unearned run in the first when Emma Mathis walked, stole second and scoring on a throwing error.
The Clippers took control with a three-run fifth inning that featured a leadoff triple by Miller and RBI singles from ninth place hitter Avery Allan and Mathis.
Clear Creek Amana played errorless defense behind Webb who retired 11 of the final 12 batters she faced.
“Defense is our focus,” Scheetz said. “We want to play good defense, hold teams to zero, one, two runs and our bats will score enough to get some wins.”
Clear Creek Amana got a strong start from eighth-grader Jenna Zillyette in the nightcap and again used strong defense to hold CPU to just a pair of sixth-inning runs.
Zillyette allowed just a pair of unearned runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings before giving way to Webb who record the final four outs.
“Jenna pitched really well tonight,” Scheetz said. “Those younger girls are all getting more comfortable.”
Olivia Miller had an RBI single in the first, Mathis an RBI single in the second and Miller an RBIN single in the third as the Clippers jumped to an early 5-0 lead.
Bedford made the play of the night with the bases loaded in the fifth.
She made a diving stop of a Ryanne Hansen ground ball in the hole at short and fired to first from her knees to end the inning.
“What we have really worked on this year with defense is trying to increase our range,” Bedford said. “We have really worked hard on that every single day and you are starting to see it.”
Seven different Clippers had a hit in the nightcap led by Webb, Mathis and Bailey Olerich with two hits each.
Olivia Miller drove in two runs and Mathis and Olerich each scored twice.
“We are a pretty tight group and after that game we decided to hold each other accountable in practice and to work hard and play hard,” Bedford said. “We have fun with it and we come to play because we all love the sport.”
Center Point-Urbana 000 000 0 – 0 5 1
Clear Creek Amana 100 031 x – 5 9 0
W – Ashley Webb W – Olivia Perez
2B – CCA: Reese Stockman. CPU: Gracie Hoskins, Ryanne Hansen
3B – CCA: Ella Miller
Center Point-Urbana 000 002 0 – 2 7 1
Clear Creek Amana 122 101 x – 7 11 2
W – Jenna Zillyette L – Nicole Coppess
2B – CCA: Reese Stockman CPU: Ryanne Hansen, Shaelyn Hansen