Inning after inning she made short work of the Southern Tornadoes, who just simply could not penetrate the Panthers' superb pitching and tight defense. If a Tornado did manage to get a hit, the Panthers were right there to stop it, and Cami would respond by turning it up even more on the next batter.
Simply put, Cami Groves was nearly unhittable on Wednesday, leading her team to a 6-0 victory. She seemed to briefly become frustrated with her pitching in the second inning, but instead of letting this work against her, she focused even more so and delivered that much better.
But Groves wasn't alone in the Panthers' victory. The entire team performed well in the field, as Clay seemed to make every play textbook perfect.
The Lady Panthers almost made it look easy as they steadily cruised to their triumph. And this is no surprise to coach Teresa Ruby.
A lot of hard work and dedication has went into honing who the Panthers are today. The only thing coach Ruby had concern over was some possible rust between games.
"The difficult thing for us is that we had such long periods of time between games and you could see that in the first three innings with us struggling at the plate, but as the game progressed we started to hit the ball better," she said.
And that's saying a lot. The Tornado's pitcher Kasey Turley was solid in her own respect, but the determination of the Panthers could not be denied, ultimately giving them the victory.
If the Lady Panthers keep up this pace and coach Ruby continues doing the job that she's been doing, the Lady Panthers could go far in the tournament.
Clay will take on Fairfield in a district final at Minford on Saturday. Game time is 1 p.m.
Fairfield 6, South Webster 2
For the first three innings, it appeared that South Webster had everything under control.
Scoring two runs in the second, it held onto the lead and kept the pressure on Fairfield until the fourth inning. But that's when things started falling apart for the Lady Jeeps.
Kicking it into high gear, Fairfield broke through South Webster's defense to score their its run and continued that pace with four more runs in the fifth.
This seemed to have a negative impact on the Lady Jeeps that they simply couldn't shake. While they started off with solid defense, they just couldn't keep up that momentum, allowing the Lady Lions to dominate until game's end with a score of 6-2.
"We played ball with them, but made a couple of errors in the fifth inning, giving them four runs, and that's what made the biggest difference," admitted assistant coach James Shuff.
But through all of this, South Webster still managed to impress with some great plays by Clark, Puckett, and Maynard.
Fairfield proved to be a talented team, and for the kind of defense that the Lady Jeeps utilized early on showed what great strides that South Webster has made, a point not lost on Shuff.
"We're still young, but we've turned this program around from what it used to be and to win Sectional and come back is quite an advancement," he said.
AARON PICKLESIMER can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 203.
Southern 000 000 0 - 0 7 1
Clay 101 121 x - 6 9 2
WP: Cami Groves. LP: Kasey Turley.
Clay - Summers 3-3, 3B, RBI; Belcher 3-4, 3B.
Southern - None.
Fairfield 000 140 1 - 6 8 0
South Webster 020 000 0 - 2 5 3
WP: Devan Bernard. LP: Kendra Clark.
Fairfield - Holden 3-3, HR, 1B; Collier 2-3, 2B; Green 2-3, 1B, RBI.
South Webster - Maynard 2-3, 2B; Clark 3-3, 2B; Puckett 2-3 2B.