Finally. It’s been an agonizing wait for Clear Creek softball.
Andrea Cash, the Wildcats’ head coach, finally enjoyed an opportunity to smile after a tough, close district contest. She knew her team was due for a moment to celebrate.
“That feels good … that was a good one,” Cash said after Clear Creek handed rival Clear Falls a 3-1 home loss on Tuesday night.
After three district setbacks by razor-thin margins, a win by the Wildcats could not have come at a better time. Following an early-season loss to Clear Falls and two losses to league champion Alvin — each game a one-run battle — Cash said her team got back to its roots.
“What we talked about today is we have to pick up like we did at the beginning of the year,” Cash said. “We started really strong at the beginning of year and that’s kind of our goal … to come out and keep moving because the rest of the way, it’s playoffs.”
The victory puts Clear Creek at 8-3 in district play with a Thursday contest with Clear Springs left on the schedule. A win Thursday would leave the Wildcats and Knights both at 9-3 and facing a playoff tiebreaker situation for seeding before the bi-district tourney can begin.
Clear Falls got off to a quick start in the bottom of the first as Erica Riley singled to lead off the inning. Following a Clear Creek throwing error, Riley scored on Chloe Jackson’s sacrifice fly.
Clear Creek, after a slow start against Clear Falls pitching ace Ashlyn Strother, found a batting stroke in the fourth inning with three hits.
CeCe Huff opened the frame with a line single, setting up catcher Maddi Petrella, who launched a long two-run home run over the right-center field fence. Ava Edwards also added a hard single, but was left stranded.
The Wildcats then pushed across a critical run in the top of the seventh. After loading the bases, Edwards lofted a pop-up just behind Riley at shortstop, who turned and collided with the base umpire as she attempted to make the catch allowing Bri Aranzeta to score.
Clear Creek pitcher Meagan Lee was strong over the final three innings, recording five strikeouts and yielding one walk.
“We’ve been preparing mentally to win this game,” said Lee, who finished with seven strikeouts and scattered three Clear Falls singles. “We have a good bond and we knew we had to have it.”
“Their hitters put it together effectively and we didn’t,” said Kim Wood, the Knights’ head coach. “I thought we had a great approach at the plate … just not putting them back-to-back where (Clear Creek) hitters capitalized, stringing together those hits.”