RUBYVILLE — The Clay Lady Panthers stepped outside of SOC I play to face off with the Wellston Lady Rockets on Thursday afternoon in Rubyville. The Lady Panthers prevailed 10-2, taking the Clay record to 19-1 on the season. Wellston fell to 12-10 on the year.
Clay head coach Jason Gearheart called Wellston “one of the better teams” Clay has played this season.
“It was a good win for us,” Gearheart said. “That was one the better games that we played all year.”
Clay found itself in a difficult position after the Lady Panthers scored two runs in the top of the second inning. A Kaylee Taynor leadoff single, followed by a Sydney Mullins walk, set the stage for back-to-back RBI singles by Sydney Spencer and Mya Bouska to put Wellston up 2-0.
However, the Clay offense was sparked by a big second inning that gave the Lady Panthers the control for good.
Bre Donahoe led off the inning with a single, Cassidy Wells reached on an error and Chloi Hayslip singled in Donahoe. Wells scored moments later to knot the game at 2-2. With two on, Elisa Collins doubled in both Hayslip and Hannah Oliver who reached via a base on balls. Two batters later, Jensen Warnock drilled her third homerun of the season. A two-run blast to right-center field to give Clay a 6-2 lead.
Clay added to its lead in the fourth inning. Oliver doubled to lead off the inning and later scored on a fielder’s choice off of the bat of Warnock. Back-to-back singles by Donahoe and Wells each brought home a run as Clay extended its lead to a 9-2 advantage.
The Clay pitching did what Clay pitching does: shut down opposing lineups. Oliver threw the first two innings allowing a pair of runs on three hits. Julia Swain came on to pitch the final five innings, shutting out the Lady Rockets on two hits while striking out 11 of the 15 that she faced.
“We started off with Hannah (Oliver),” Clay head coach Jason Gearheart said. “It was the plan again to bring Julia (Swain) in to get work for the playoffs.”
“Clay is a good team,” Wellston head coach Dusty Cremeans said. “We couldn’t get anything started tonight.”
In the sixth inning, Clay added another run when Donahoe knocked in Shaelyn Vasser who had drawn a leadoff walk. Vasser was one of three Lady Panthers who scored twice. Donahoe went 4-for-4 with a pair of RBI’s and Jensen Warnock went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs.
Clay travels to Gallipolis this weekend for a doubleheader at Gallia Academy. There will be four teams competing at Gallia Academy High School. Clay’s first game will be against Belpre, while Gallia Academy will face off against Winfield (W. Va.). The outcomes of the first games will determine which teams will face off in the second games.