PDT Sports Editor
One day after throwing a no-hitter, Autumn Griffith led the Panthers to the Division IV Sectional Championship. Clay (17-8) defeated the Federal Hocking Lancers 10-2 Tuesday evening at Minford High School.
Griffith allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out 10 batters.
“It all starts in the circle,” Clay Head Coach Jason Gerheart said. “If she (Griffith) keeps it under three runs, we will be in good shape.”
Griffith improved her record to 16-8 with the two-run performance.
“When she is on and with our defense, we aren’t going to be stopped,” Gerheart said.
The game began with a lead off double by Federal Hocking Lead off batter Cailey Tabler but after an unsuccessful bunt, which resulted in a double play, the lady Panthers went to work.
Marissa Messer led the home half of the first inning with a single, then stole second base. After a bunt advanced Messer to third, Griffith hit a ground ball to shortstop to give Clay a 1-0 lead.
Griffith made quick work of the Lancers (15-11) in the second inning striking out the side.
In the home half of the inning, the Panthers doubled their lead to 2-0 with a run batted in by Cami Whitley.
The third inning provided more scoring for Clay. With one out in the inning and Messer standing on second base, Sydney Carter grounded out to the pitcher. Messer headed for third on the ground out. An errant throw to third allowed Messer to score the third run of the game.
With two outs in the third inning, Griffith doubled and scored on a single by the next Clay batter, Alisha Shepherd. After singles by Gabby Hickman and Jessica Moore, the bases were loaded for Whitley who delivered with an RBI single. The Panthers lead 5-0 after the third inning, which saw Clay send nine batters to the plate.
The Panthers tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to two errors committed by the Lancers.
Federal Hocking finally broke the goose egg on the score board in the top of the sixth inning. With two on and two outs, Cleanup hitter Tiffany Wells hit a two-run double to right-center field.
The Lady Panthers made a mends for those two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Messer led the inning off with a single. After a ground out by Carter, Griffith hit her second double of the contest to score Messer. After a fly out by Shepherd, Hickman singled up the middle to score Griffith and increase Clay’s lead to 10-2.
Griffith got a 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh inning, including striking out the final two batters, to record the victory.
“This is the best team game we have played all year,” Gearheart said. “I am so proud of them.”
Clay will play in the championship game on Saturday at 11 a.m. against Racine Southern at Minford High School.
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 298, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Chris on Twitter @crslone.
Federal Hocking — 000 002 0 — 2 7 3
Clay — 113 032 x — 10 15 0
Federal Hocking — Tabler 2-3(2B, R), Furner 1-2 (SAC), Cale 1-3, Wells 1-3 (2B, 2 RBI), Cobb 1-3, Hickman 1-2 (2B, R)
Clay — Messer 3-4 ( 3 R), Carter 1-4, Griffith 2-4 (2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R), Shepherd 1-4 (2 R), Hickman 3-4 (RBI, 2 R), Moore 2-4 (R), Whitley 2-3 (SAC, 2 RBI), Cooper 0-2 (SAC), Fuller 1-3
W — Griffith (16-8) 10 K, 0 BB
L — Cale (N/A) 3 K, 0 BB
Records — Clay 18-8 (12-2), Federal Hocking 15-11