WALTONVILLE – Two runs in the first and two more in the second helped to shake off the nerves Tuesday afternoon as the No. 2 seed Waltonville/Sesser-Valier Spartans defeated Clay City, 6-0, in Midland Trail conference softball tournament action.
“It was nice not to stress our defense and our pitching,” said WSV head coach John Kiselewski. “It was nice to get those runs, but we stalled there. We stalled for a few innings hitting the ball with runners in scoring position.”
Hannah Garascia led off the game doing what she does best on the diamond, which is getting on base. She reached on an infield single and quickly swiped second base.
Taylor Witges followed with a double to drive home Garascia and give the Spartans a quick 1-0 lead.
Then, Taylor Frank lined the ball up the middle allowing Witges to score the second run of the game as WSV led, 2-0, through one inning.
In the second inning, Rylee Breese led off with a walk to start the inning. Jessie Eubanks singled to center field advancing Breeze to second base.
After a strikeout for the first out of the inning, Breeze and Eubanks advanced a base on a double steal.
The batting order flipped back to the top, but another strikeout resulted in the second out of the inning with both runners still in scoring position.
Witges delivered a clutch two-RBI double scoring both Breeze and Eubanks to put the Spartans on top, 4-0.
“We left some runners on base,” said Kiselewski. “Taylor Witges had a big two-out hit when the two batters ahead of her struck out. That was a big hit for Taylor to make it 4-0 instead of 2-0.”
A day after throwing a five-inning perfect game, WSV’s Gretchen Witter was perfect against Clay City until single up the middle in the fourth inning ended 8 ⅓ innings worth of perfect softball.
“Talking with Jessie [Eubanks, Spartans catcher] she’s hitting her spots,” said Kiselewski. “She’s got good movement. She’s keeping the ball down when we need it down and our defense is playing well behind her also.”
Witter went on to finish the game allowing four hits, no runs while walking one and striking out nine batters.
The Spartans finished with 10 hits in the game. Eight of the 10 hits came courtesy of the top four in the WSV lineup. Garascia was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Witges was 3-for-4 with a run scored and three RBI, while Frank was 2-for-3 with two runs batted in.
“We like to see that,” said Kiselewski. “We just had a talk about the bottom of our order. The bottom of our order, we’ve kind of been using a platoon system and it just seems like the girls we’re plugging in here lately haven’t produced and we put somebody else in and they don’t produce and it’s a revolving door to try and figure out who can produce there. The bottom of our lineup is going to have to start hitting and driving in some runs.”
The Spartans added two insurance runs in the home half of the sixth inning. Garascia reached on an error and move to second on the play. She scored on a single from Witter, who advanced to second on the throw home to retire Garascia.
Finally, Frank drove home another run with a single back up the middle for a 6-0 lead.
Maddie Craig suffered the loss. She went six innings allowing 10 hits, six runs (four earned) walking three and striking out six.
“She’s a good pitcher,” said Kiselewski. “She held us to three a couple weeks ago and I know she pitched well against Woodlawn and she pitched well again today.”
Waltonville/SV will face county rival Woodlawn at 5 o’clock for the MTC championship. The two teams have played twice, with each team winning a game.