The Meridian Star
Everyone had a goodnight.
Or at least, everyone on the Clarkdale slow pitch softball team as it blew out Southeast Lauderdale, 31-5, at home on Senior Night.
Clarkdale mounted the slaughter by piling on enough scoring to invoke the run-rule. In four innings, the Bulldogs sent 39 batters to the box for 32 hits and 31 runs. In the first three innings, they batted through the line up three times, causing everyone on the team to have a multi-hit night and earn at least one RBI.
“I just told them, 'I don't know where that's been, but I hope it continues,'” head coach Britt Bennett said. “We could do no wrong tonight, wherever we hit it, they weren't. Played good defense and hitting's contagious.”
Appropriately, it was senior pitcher Molly McLeod who carried the Bulldogs at the plate and on the mound. She hit two first-inning home runs to the same spot, just over the left center field wall, finishing the night 2-2 with nine RBIs and three intentional walks. On the mound, she gave up five runs on seven hits.
The first of her two bombs was a no-out grandslam for a quick 4-0 lead. The second was a two-out 3-run shot to go up, 12-0.
“It felt great to get that big ol' win tonight,” McLeod said. “I was like, 'Two, for real?' It was great.”
The Tigers intentionally walked her once in the second and twice in the third with the bases loaded, adding to the run deficit.
“I would have done the same thing,” Bennett said. “Matter fact, there's been a couple times this year where I didn't walk people and it came back to burn me.”
In the top of the second, the Tigers threatened to make the game interesting by putting runs on the board.
Left fielder Chariae Harbin hit a one-out triple to start the rally. Four batters later, Bailey Pickett roped a line drive into deep left field to clear the bases for a two-run double and cut the deficit to 12-3.
Clarkdale's infield defense ended the rally before the offense put the game virtually out of reach.
Seven singles in eight at bats quickly gave the Bulldogs five more runs.
McLeod was intentionally passed to avoid more, but with only one-out in the bottom of the second, the routing wasn't over. Aubrey McWilliams hit an RBI single in the next at-bat. Breanna Ivy grounded out to first while earning an RBI. Alex Riser knocked in McLeod and McWilliams with a single to cap a nine-run inning, 21-3.
Third inning lead-off singles by Shakira Shoemaker and Timara Trusell provided base runners that came around to score Southeast's final two runs.
The same couldn't be said for Clarkdale as they added 10 hits and 10 runs in the third inning, highlighted by a 3-run double by Alex Riser and a 2-run triple from senior Heather Harwell.
McLeod earned the Bulldogs final RBI of the night on her second intentional walk of the third inning.
In the fourth, she took returned to the mound and kept the Tigers quiet. A grounder towards third off Magen Chatham's bat induced a inning-ending double play. In the first, McLeod retired the side as the umpires enforced the 10-run after 5 innings run rule.
Riser finished the night 3-for-4 with five RBIs and two runs scored, while Harwell went 4 for 5 with four RBIs and four runs scored.
As a team, the Bulldogs scored 15 runs with two outs.
“I just can't say enough good about them tonight,” Bennett said. “They played well in all our areas of the game – played defense, they hit, situational hitting. They did whatever it took tonight.”
The slaughter capped Clarkdale's home schedule as the rose to 8-10 on the season. They'll return to action on Saturday in a tournament, before heading to Enterprise on Tuesday.