The Clay Lady Panthers finished one run shy of a victory against the Albany Alexander Lady Spartans in Chillicothe, Ohio.
Playing at Unioto High School on Saturday, the Lady Panthers and Lady Spartans had a high scoring affair which saw Albany Alexander end up with a one-run win over Clay, 11-10
Both teams had a great start, as their bats came alive early in the game. After one complete inning of play, the game was tied 3-3.
The Lady Spartans copied their success from the first inning, adding three more runs in the second, to take a 6-3 lead over the Lady Panthers. Clay was held scoreless in the second inning.
As Clay gave up nothing to Albany Alexander in the third inning, the Lady Panthers brought one run home to cut the Lady Spartan lead to 6-4.
Clay gave that run back in the fourth, as the Lady Spartans scored one run while holding up the Lady Panthers.
In the fifth inning, Clay came back and brought the game to a near tie, thanks to a two-run inning. The Lady Panthers cut the Lady Spartan lead to a single run by the end of five innings, 7-6.
Albany Alexander looked unstoppable in the sixth inning. In the bottom half of the inning, the Lady Spartans scored four runs against the Lady Panthers to take a five-run lead, 11-6, as the game was sent to the seventh inning.
It was do-or-die for Clay in the top of the seventh inning. The Lady Panthers trailed by five runs and only had three outs to work with, in an attempt to come back.
Jason Gearheart’s crew nearly made another remarkable comeback, like they have before against top-notch opponents, but were cut down just before getting the fifth run. Clay brought four runners home in the top half of the seventh before getting their third out, losing the game by one run, 11-10.
Hill got the win for the Lady Spartans. She went through five innings of work for Albany Alexander, allowing five earned runs. The Lady Spartan hurler only walked two batters Saturday, while striking out one.
Hannah Oliver got the loss for Clay, being the pitcher of record for the Lady Panthers. She pitched five and one-third innings for Clay, walking eight batters, although three of those walks were intentional. She gave up 11 runs, all earned on Saturday, but was able to strike out four Lady Spartans.
Tressa Carter got in touch with the long-ball again on Saturday. Carter sent her 10th home run of the year sailing over the fence in a 4-4 hitting performance against Albany Alexander. She drove in three runs, while scoring four times and hit a double as well.
Clay is gearing up for their sectional finals game on Thursday, May 12, 2016. The Lady Panthers will host the winner of the sectional semi-final match-up between the Glenwood (New Boston) Lady Tigers and the Whiteoak Lady Wildcats. First pitch is set for 5:00 p.m.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.