RUBYVILLE – In a contest that was moved from Slocum to Rubyville due to field conditions, the Clay Lady Panthers’ bats proved to be unstoppable, regardless of the location, as Clay clinched a SOC I title with a 16-1 victory over the East Lady Tartans in five innings on Monday afternoon in Rubyville.
“It (the SOC championship) is a great accomplishment,” Clay head coach Jason Gearhart said. “That’s out first goal. Our next goal is to win the sectional.”
From the very beginning of the affair, the Lady Panthers’ bats were rolling as seven of the first eight Clay players that came to the plate scored in the top of the first inning.
“It’s one of the first games where we’ve come out in the first inning and actually hit the ball pretty well,” Gearhart said.
In the first inning, Elisa Collins and Shaelynn Vassar each scored on a Jensen Warnock double, and Bre Donahoe followed with a RBI single that scored Warnock. Donahoe then scored moments late on a throwing error that allowed Cassidy Wells to reach base. Wells and Lila Brown, who singled, both scored on a Chloi Hayslip single, and Collins capped the inning off by scoring Hayslip on a RBI base knock to push the lead to a 7-0 mark after an inning of play.
The seven-run lead was more than enough for Clay’s pitcher Hannah Oliver. Oliver no-hit the Tartans for the first two and two-thirds innings of the affair before Julia Swain came on in relief. Swain went the final inning and two-thirds, allowing just one run. Oliver returned the circle to retire the last two East batters in recording the victory.
Collins was one of three Lady Panthers that crossed the dish three times in the contest, and went 3-for-3 with two RBI to lead the Lady Panthers’ efforts. Vassar, Warnock, and Wells each combined to go 5-for-7 with five RBI on the evening to aid Clay in the victory.
East managed to get on the board in the fourth inning when Gracie Billings, after drawing a lead-off walk, scored on a Hannah Sexton RBI single.
East returns home to face off with Eastern Pike in a SOC I battle on Tuesday. Clay steps out of conference to do battle as they play host to the Wellston Lady Rockets on Thursday.