PORTSMOUTH — Simply put, with “Sparks” flying in the circle, the Titans took target practice to right and right-center field on Monday.
That’s because — in an outright first-place affair for Southern Ohio Conference Division I softball — host Notre Dame dialed up for 15 runs on 15 hits, and took advantage of eight Clay Panther errors, en route to a convincing 15-0 shutout in the two teams’ first meeting of the season.
As in right field.
With several hard-hit softballs to the right side of the infield, or into the right half of the outfield, the talented and highly-touted Titans teed off on Clay pitcher Preslee Lutz.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame freshman Gwen Sparks pitched with zero stress and plenty of run support, as she allowed only one hit and one walk while striking out 10 in facing only two Panthers over the minimum number of 15.
The contest was called following the fifth inning with the 10-run mercy rule, as the Titans take a seeming stranglehold upon the SOC I —raising their undefeated records to 11-0 and 6-0 in the league.
The Panthers, which scored a key SOC I win at Symmes Valley on April 8, fell to 10-4 —and now 4-1 in the division.
Starting with Sparks, she walked Kat Cochran to lead off the game, but then retired the next eight Panthers prior to facing Cochran again.
Cochran singled to center with two outs in the third, but that was the only other baserunner Clay could muster for the entire one hour and eight minutes.
And, the senior shortstop Cochran was the top Panther player on defense as well — with four assists and one putout.
For the remainder, the Titans landed Lutz’s offerings either in right field or right center — although Claire Dettwiller did deviate a tad in the fourth frame with her two-run home run to left center.
That shot made it 14-0, and highlighted Dettwiller’s day of going 3-of-4 with a home run, a double, a single and four runs batted in.
Dettwiller bats leadoff and Ava Hassel hits second, as she too went 3-of-4 —including a two-run triple to right in the second.
The three-spot (Isabel Cassidy) and four-spot (Kaylor Pickelseimer) hitters both went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI, including a second-inning RBI-double by Pickelseimer.
Annie Dettwiller — the five-hole hitter — went a perfect 3-of-3 with a triple and three runs batted in, as Maddy Suter and Kyndall Ford both went 1-for-3 with one RBI apiece.
Hassel and Pickelseimer scored three runs apiece; Sparks, Ford and Claire Dettwiller each scored twice; and Annie Dettwiller, Katie Strickland and Cassidy each crossed once.
Notre Dame scored two runs apiece in the first and third frames — sandwiched around and in between a five-run second stanza and its six-run eruption in the fourth.
Of the Titans’ 15 hits, they had a half-dozen apiece in those second and fourth at-bats.
* * *
Clay 000 00 — 0 1 8
Notre Dame 252 6X — 15 15 0
CHS: Preslee Lutz 4IP, 15R, 7ER, 15H, 0HB, 0BB, 1K, 31BF
NDHS: Gwen Sparks 5IP, 0R, 0ER, 1H, 0HB, 1BB, 10K, 17BF
W — Gwen Sparks; L —Preslee Lutz
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved