Clinton freshman pitcher Maddison Daniels is used to throwing a lot of pitches, so pitching most of a doubleheader doesn’t faze her.
That composure proved invaluable when Davenport Central threatened to make a contest of Thursday afternoon’s second game between the River Queens and Blue Devils. After Clinton built a 9-1 lead, with Daniels throwing six innings on top of a first-game 2-0 loss in which she gave up zero earned runs, she had to return to finish things off against a threatening Central side, allowing Clinton to escape with a 9-5 victory.
“It’s not really that hard; I’m used to throwing a lot, so it wasn’t that bad,” Daniels said first of throwing 13-plus innings, then returning to get the final two outs of the doubleheader split. “I was ready, in case I needed to come in, but I didn’t think I’d need to.”
That’s because, after having a hard time finding its offense in the first game, with Central pitcher Melissa Rink holding the River Queens (2-1, 1-1 Mississippi Athletic Conference) to two hits, Clinton didn’t waste any time finding a different approach at the plate (11 hits in the second game), in the field (one error, compared with four in the first game) and on the scoreboard.
“After the first game, I looked at them and everyone seemed to have no energy,” Clinton coach Trina Cewe said. “Energy’s a big thing in softball. It can help get you hits, can help you make plays, and they really responded to that.”
Speed doesn’t always kill, but it can harass a defense, and the River Queens used their speed to their advantage right from the start of the second game. Monique Harris and Sarah Judge both reached base and scored by staying aggressive on the basepaths, leading to an eventual 3-0 first-inning lead.
Clinton extended that lead to 5-0 in the fourth, when Courtney Harlock and Brittney Peska scored on a fielder’s choice and Central throwing error, adding another run in the fifth when Rachel Ryan was hit by a pitch and scored on Arti Bhakta’s RBI triple.
By then, Daniels was well-stoked to a lead, but she wound up allowing just three hits over the first five innings, allowing only a run via sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth.
And Clinton wasn’t done hitting yet, getting four hits in the top of the seventh — with the big blow a two-run triple by Peska — to tack on three more runs. Peska, Laece Combs, Keirstyn Davis and Daniels all had two hits for the River Queens.
Central did wind up sending 10 batters to the plate in the bottom half of the seventh, but Daniels was ultimately able to slam the door.
“Maddie had a fantastic performance. She really came to play ball,” Cewe said. “We don’t expect her to be a strikeout performer, but she did a great job for us. We’re never happy with a split; maybe if it had been a higher-ranked team in the MAC, then yes, but we always hope for a sweep. Our girls know they should have and could have swept Central. We just had a little bit of energy lacking.”
DAVENPORT CENTRAL 2, CLINTON 0
Clinton 000 000 0 — 0 2 4
Central 020 000 x — 2 3 0
Maddison Daniels (6 ip, 3 h, 2 r, 0 er, 1 bb, 2 so) and Keirstyn Davis; Melissa Rink (7 ip, 2 h, 0 r, 3 bb, 8 so) and Kali Gahagan. WP — Rink. LP — Daniels.
CLINTON 9, DAVENPORT CENTRAL 5
Clinton 300 210 3 — 9 11 1
Central 000 001 4 — 5 9 5
Maddison Daniels (6.2 ip, 6 h, 1 r, 1 er, 1 bb, 4 so), Courtney Harlock (0.1 ip, 3 h, 4 r, 4 er, 2 bb, 0 so) and Keirstyn Davis; Angela Corrigan (7 ip, 11 h, 9 r, 4 er, 0 bb, 0 so). WP — Daniels. LP — Corrigan. SV — Daniels. Multiple hits — Clinton (Laece Combs 2, Davis 2, Daniels 2, Brittney Peska 2), Central (Kate Hoeksema 2, Melissa Rink 2). 2B — Clinton (Peska), Central (Rink). 3B — Clinton (Arti Bhakta, Peska). RBI — Clinton (Combs, Rachel Ryan, Bhakta, Harlock, Peska 2), Central (Bre Voigts, Courtney Loos 2, Rink 2).
Records — Clinton 2-1 (1-1 MAC), Central 4-2 (1-1).