Left fielder Jenna Bell’s RBI single in the 11th inning proved to be the game winner for Clear Springs, as the Chargers edged the Clear Falls Knights, 6-5, in a marathon softball bout Monday night at Clear Falls High School.
Right fielder/starting pitcher Kelly Maxwell led off the top of the 11th with a walk and center fielder Hannah Crawford reached on a two-out error to set up Bell’s game-winning base knock up the middle.
Relief pitcher/right fielder Kaylee Thomas retired the Knights in order in the bottom of the 11th to earn the win in the circle. Thomas pitched the game’s final four innings, giving up just two hits, no walks and no runs while collecting five strikeouts.
Maxwell drove in shortstop Demi Elder (leadoff walk) with an RBI double crushed off the left-center wall in the top of the first to get the scoring started.
The Knights answered right back in the bottom of the first, with left fielder Juli Niedermaier smacking an RBI single into left field, driving in right fielder Chelsi Olvera (leadoff walk) to tie the score, 1-1.
The two teams matched run-for-run again in the fourth inning, as Crawford sent a home run ball screaming over the center field wall in the top half of the inning, and Clear Falls answering with a clutch two-out RBI single by second baseman Taylor Presswood driving in Niedermaier (leadoff single).
After the Chargers logged another run on an Elder RBI single in the top of the fifth for a 3-2 lead, Clear Falls put a crooked number on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the inning to seemingly take control of the game.
A run of four consecutive singles was capped by a two-RBI knock by first baseman Chloe Jackson. The hit to left field was misplayed, allowing a third run to score in the base-loaded situation.
But, Clear Springs rallied with two runs in the top of the seventh to force extra innings. Elder’s leadoff double set up a one-out RBI single by Maxwell to cut the lead to 5-4. Crawford then came up huge in the clutch, smoking a game-tying RBI double into the left-center gap.
Leading the Chargers in the batter’s box were Elder (5-for-5, two runs, one RBI), Maxwell (3-for-4, two RBIs, one run), Bell (3-for-6, one RBI) and Crawford (2-for-6, two RBIs, one run).
Collecting multi-hit games for the Knights were Niedermaier (3-for-6, two runs, one RBI), shortstop Erica Riley (2-for-5, one run) and designated player Aaliyah Garcia (2-for-4).
Both teams return to action 6:30 p.m. March 20. Clear Springs (2-2 in District 24-6A) hosts Clear Brook (1-3), and Clear Falls (3-1) travels to Alvin (3-1) for a marquee matchup.