It was tough telling which barrage caused more damage on the Clinton High School softball diamond Monday night.
First, it was the Burlington bats that battered Clinton for five innings in the first game of a Mississippi Athletic Conference doubleheader at Eagle Heights Elementary School, leading to an 8-0 Grayhound lead before lightning halted play just before 7 p.m. in the top of the sixth.
Then, a hard rain for the next hour — plus a tornado warning in Clinton County — kept players from both sides holed up in the Eagle Heights gym before the second game was postponed just at 8 p.m. The second game has been rescheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday.
If nothing else, the postponement allows the River Queens (5-9, 3-6 MAC) a chance to regroup against Burlington junior pitcher Miranda Kramer, who had scouts from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids on hand Monday to get a look at her presence inside the circle.
Kramer didn’t disappoint, striking out nine Clinton hitters while walking just one and hitting another. Her mixture of off-speed pitches, including a well-hidden changeup, kept the River Queens off-balance throughout the first game.
“We’ve seen it; we’re just acting like we haven’t,” Clinton coach Trina Cewe said of Kramer’s mixture of pitches. “The hitting aspect has been disappointing the last few games. When we opened up against Camanche, we hit everything we saw, and now we’re scared to swing the bats. We’ve seen it with every MAC team, I just don’t know. We’re freezing at the plate.”
Kramer doubled in Burlington’s first run in the first inning; Burlington first baseman Hillary May, who also was getting a long look by the Mount Mercy staff during the game, doubled in another run in the second, but an error led to three unearned runs. That was the situation in the fifth, as well, as another error led to another unearned run.
As it turned out, Burlington finished with 11 hits, but only just a couple were deep drives; the rest were infield hits or short flares.
“Some of those hits were gotten because we got behind in the count; that was part of the problem early, and we talked to (Clinton pitcher) Maddie (Daniels) about that,” Cewe said. “We don’t expect every pitch to be a strike, but you have to get ahead of hitters. She’s got a variety of pitches, but you can’t use them when you’re behind in the count. That’s what (Kramer) did and that was why she could throw whatever she wants.”
And Clinton struggled, getting its lone hit in the third inning on a little fly to short right-center-field by leadoff hitter Monique Harris. That was the only time that the River Queens — who’d had Sarah Judge reach on an error earlier in the inning — got two runners on base.
Clinton also had a runner reach second in the fourth, when Keirstyn Davis walked and stole second, but Kramer struck out the side to end the threat.
BURLINGTON 8, CLINTON 0 (5 INN.)
Burlington 240 02 — 8 11 1
Clinton 000 00 — 0 1 3
Miranda Kramer (5 ip, 1 h, 0 r, 1 bb, 9 so) and Courtney Carl; Maddison Daniels (5 ip, 11 h, 8 r, 4 er, 2 bb, 2 so) and Keirstyn Davis. WP -- Kramer. LP -- Daniels. Multiple hits -- Burlington (Hillary May 2, Courtney Carl 2, Kelsi Conner 2, Sam Whitmore 2). 2B -- Burlington (May, Kramer). RBI -- Burlington (Brittnee Grimshaw, May, Carl, Kramer, Conner 2). Record -- Clinton 5-9 (3-6 Mississippi Athletic Conference).
Second game ppd. by rain to Thursday, game time TBA