Your Prep Sports
OXFORD – After going 10 days without a game the postseason opener for Class 4A eighth-ranked Clear Creek Amana started with a thud.
Katelyn LeFleur and the rest of the Clippers made sure it ended with a bang.
After Central DeWitt took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning LeFleur capped a six-run Clipper first with a two-run homer spurring the Clippers to an 11-1 five-inning win over the Sabers on Monday in a Region 8 semifinal in Oxford.
“That was a huge inning for us,” LeFleur said. “Coming back and scoring six runs like we did that definitely put us in the place where we needed to be after the start of that inning.”
The win snapped a three-game losing skid for Clear Creek Amana (28-9) and moved the Clippers a win away from their first state tournament trip since 2014.
Clear Creek Amana will host No. 12 Marion (26-11) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Region 8 title game.
Marion swept the Clippers in a season-opening WAMAC conference doubleheader all the way back on May 24.
“We get a second chance,” Clear Creek Amana senior Gabrielle Bedford said. “That was the first game of the season and I feel like we have grown a lot. We are both very good teams so we are definitely going to have to come to play, we will just play our game and if we do what we do we will be perfectly fine.”
Clear Creek Amana showed some resolve early on Monday.
Riding a three-game losing streak, playing for the first time in 10 days without its ace pitcher and facing a hot Central DeWitt team that upset No. 14 Cedar Rapids Xavier in its postseason opener last week Clear Creek Amana unsurprisingly fell into an early hole.
Central DeWitt (12-26) struck immediately as Isabelle Pierce walked to lead off the game and scored on a two-out double by senior Talbot Kinney.
Clear Creek Amana had an immediate answer.
Six of the first seven Clear Creek Amana hitters reached base in a six-run first inning.
“We were talking before the game and it felt like we hadn’t played in 17 years,” Bedford said. “It was just all that build up from not playing and then we came out and did exactly what we were supposed to.”
Ellie Crow had a two-run single to give the Clippers a 2-1 lead and the Clippers took advantage of a pair of errors to plate two more runs.
LeFleur capped the six-run first inning with a two-run opposite field home run to right field. “Coach told me to hold off on the first one and the second one I saw it coming straight toward me and I said ‘alright that’s it’,” LeFleur said. “That felt good.”
Clear Creek Amana tacked on a run in the second when Emma Mathis drew a leadoff walk and scored on an Olivia Miller double.
The Clippers then put the game away in the third.
Four walks made it 8-1 before Mathis smacked a bases loaded double into the left center field gap that cleared the bases and pushed the lead to 11-1.
“When I go up to the plate I think as if I have a 0-0 count every time,” Mathis said. “It’s always my count so I am ready for my pitch and she threw it low and outside and I did what I could and it worked out.”
That was more than enough support for freshman Bliss Beck who was brilliant after the first inning.
Beck struck out six while allowing just the one run on three hits while walking four.
“She pitched really well, I am really proud of her,” LeFleur said of Beck. “She pitched to her spots.”
Monday’s game was originally scheduled for Saturday but was postponed by rain.
After going from July 2 to July 12 without a game the Clippers will play back-to-back days for a spot at state.
“We were ready to play on Saturday but we understood when it got postponed,” Mathis said. “We came out and played well and we were really happy about that.”
Central DeWitt 100 00 – 1 3 2
Clear Creek Amana 614 0x – 11 6 0
W – Bliss Beck L – Paige Owens
2B – CCA: Emma Mathis, Olivia Miller. CD: Talbot Kinney
HR – CCA: Katelyn LeFleur