LUCASVILLE — The Clay Panthers put up all nine of their runs on Tuesday through the opening four innings, and went on to capture a 9-5 non-league softball victory over the host Valley Indians.
Clay scored three times each in innings one, two and four, as Valley scored three in the third to get within 6-3 —but didn’t score again until the seventh stanza with its final two.
With the win, the Panthers raised their record to 3-1, while the young Indians fell to 1-2.
The strong run support made a winner out of Panther pitcher Preslee Lutz, who allowed the five runs but struck out five —and retired the side 1-2-3 in innings one and six, while facing four Indians apiece in innings two and five.
The Panthers also overcame errors in the game, as Valley’s first three runs —despite back-to-back-to-back RBI-singles by Lexi Whitt, Karsyn Davis and Addalyn Conaway — were all unearned.
The Indians then loaded the bases in the fourth trailing 9-3 —on back-to-back singles by Baylee Yarnell and Aaralyn Lore and Taylor Cunningham reaching on an error for the second consecutive inning — but Lutz induced Whitt into a flyout to right.
Whitt and Davis then singled with one out in the seventh, and Conaway reached on another error along with a two-out RBI-single by Anna-Marie Elliott, but Lutz left runners on the corners by getting Yarnell to ground out to end it.
Clay benefited from Valley errors as well, although the Panthers’ first three runs were the direct result of Indian pitcher Emile Johnson walking Kat Cochran to lead off and hitting McKenzie Loper with a pitch.
Both Cochran and Loper scored on a double by Megan Bazler, who later scored herself to make it 3-0.
Johnson did strike out seven, but two Indian errors in the second and three more in the fourth resulted in the Panthers’ final six markers — and the 9-3 lead which held up until the bottom of the seventh.
Katie Fife and Loper singled in the second, as Cochran, Fife and Loper all scored.
The Panthers sent eight batters to the plate in the fourth —combining the three errors with another Fife single and a Shaley Munion double.
Cochran, Bazler and Munion scored to make it 9-3 — as Kailey Ware with a single in the third, Cochran with a double in the fifth, and Munion with a single in the sixth rounded out the Panthers’ hitting.