Turner Estes would like to see his Davenport North softball team play a style more similar to that of Clinton. He just doesn't have the players to do it. Trina Cewe, on the other hand, does, and the River Queens did what they do best against the Wildcats.
Playing aggressively on offense, the River Queens swept a Mississippi Athletic Conference doubleheader from North, winning the opener 12-5 and the second game 15-3. Clinton piled up 32 hits; stole 12 bases and had several other runners advance on catcher indifference; and challenged North's defense to make a play every time the opportunity arose.
“We have a lot of options and used a lot of those,” Cewe said after her team improved to 5-2, 3-1 in the MAC. “Speed on the base paths helps with the confidence that if we can get on, we can score.”
The Wildcats, meanwhile, had 11 hits in each game but had trouble producing runs with their station-to-station style,
“We're not doing it right now,” Estes said of putting pressure on the defense to make plays.
The result was 23 runners left on base.
Two innings were especially critical in that regard in the opener.
With Clinton clinging to a 7-5 lead, freshman pitcher Maddison Daniels worked her way out of bases-loaded jams in both the fifth and sixth innings.
In the fifth, North loaded the bases with one out, but Daniels caught Leigh Windschitl looking at strike three for her only strikeout of the game and then got a flyout to end the inning. One inning later, Daniels elected to pitch around Kayla Moeller with two on and two outs to load the bases. That time, Daniels got Claire Saskowski to foul out for the third out of the inning.
Earlier, Moeller had tied the game with a two-run home run in the first inning. Daniels had a response, then, too.
“I don't like it so much when someone hits a home run,” she said. “It makes me want to hit even more and make up for it.”
She accomplished that and started a three-run rally with a leadoff double in the second inning.
Haley Huebner followed with an infield hit that moved courtesy runner Katelyn Ryan to third base. Amanda Kristensen put Clinton ahead 3-2 with a single to left field, with Huebner moving to third, then the two runners worked a delayed double steal for a 4-2 lead. Kristensen moved up on an error, then scored on a groundout to make it 5-2.
North kept close with a run in the second and two in the third, but Clinton maintained its edge, getting an RBI groundout from Courtney Harlock in the third inning and an RBI single from Keirstyn Davis in the fourth.
After Daniels pitched out of trouble in the fifth and sixth inning, Clinton scored five insurance runs in the top of the seventh. They strung together five singles and a squeeze bunt to do most of the damage.
The second game was even uglier for North as Clinton pounded out 17 hits and scored 15 runs.
A five-run second inning got things rolling for the River Queens. It all started with two outs, and once again, pressuring the defense was the key.
Sarah Judge walked with two outs, stole second and went to third on a single by Kristensen, who advanced to second on the throw in from center field. Monique Harris beat out an infield single to score Judge with the tying run and move Kristensen to third. Both runners scored when left fielder Lisha Jones dropped a fly ball. Davis followed with a run-scoring triple and scored on Rachel Ryan's double, though Ryan was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
Clinton added three runs each in the fourth and sixth innings and tacked on four in the seventh. The top four batters in Clinton's order were a combined 12-for-18 with 10 runs and 10 runs batted in.
“We had a lot of hits, and I'm pretty happy about that,” Davis said. “We're a really good hitting team. We have our nights, and tonight was one of them.”
Davis finished the second game 3-for-5 with four RBIs, and she was 6-for-9 with six RBIs overall. Harris was 4-for-4 with four runs in the second game and 7-for-9 overall.
CLINTON 12, DAVENPORT NORTH
Clinton 231 100 5 — 12 15 2
North 212 000 0 — 5 11 3
Maddison Daniels (7 ip, 11 h, 5 r, 3 er, 2 bb, 1 so) and Keirstyn Davis; Claire Saskowski (7 ip, 15 h, 12 r, 9 er, 1 bb, 8 so) and Leigh Winsdschitl, Emily Dutton (7). Multiple hits — Clinton (Monique Harris 3, Davis 3, Daniels 3, Haley Huebner 2); North (Hope Scheffert 3, Kayla Moeller 2. 2B — Clinton (Daniels, Rachel Ryan). 3B — Clinton (Davis); North (Windschitl). HR — North (Moeller). RBIs — Clinton (Harris 2, Davis 2, Brittney Peska, Courtney Harlock 2, Daniels, Amanda Kristensen); North (Moeller 2, Tammie Wilson, Widschitl, Amanda Herrington).
CLINTON 15, NORTH 3
Clinton 050 303 4 — 15 17 1
North 100 010 1 — 3 11 5
Daniels (7 ip, 11 h, 3 r, 2 er, 7 bb, 4 so) and Davis; Saskowski (3 ip, 6 h, 7 r, 1 er, 1 bb, 1 so), Herrington (4 ip, 11 h, 8 r, 8 er, 2 bb, 5 so). Multiple hits — Clinton (Harris 4, Peska 3, Davis 3, Ryan 2, Daniels 2); North (Saskowski 2, Wilson 2). 2B — Clinton (Ryan); North (Maranda Claussen, Wilson). 3B — Clinton (Davis). RBIs — Clinton (Harris, Peska 2, Davis 4, Ryan 3, Arti Bhakta, Daniels, Katelyn Ryan); North (Lisha Jones, Wilson).
Records — Clinton 5-2, 3-1 MAC; North 2-6, 0-4.