By Brenden West Herald Assistant Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON — A deep Bettendorf lineup was on display Monday night in Clinton.
During Game 2 of the Mississippi Athletic Conference softball doubleheader between the Bulldogs and River Queens, a 10-run fifth inning was punctuated by a Sarah Kennedy grand slam. It was Kennedy’s second score of the frame, a no-out, no-doubt blast over the right-field fence, forcing Clinton to make its second pitching switch in the inning.
Clinton finally stopped the bleeding, retiring three of the next four batters, but by then the game was out of reach and a sweep under way. The River Queens lost both contests, 13-2 in Game 1 and 16-3 in Game 2. Both games ended early from the 10-run rule.
“We just seemed dead in the first game, dead in the second game,” Clinton coach Trina Cewe said, adding that there seemed to be “lack of spirit” from the squad. “(Bettendorf is) a really good hitting team. There’s a reason they’re rated 10th in the state.
“But we didn’t have good pitching performances either. ... Lapses on defense. We weren’t aggressive with the bats, and when we were aggressive, (the ball) was out of the strike zone.”
Clinton managed only six hits between both games. Bettendorf pitchers DoniRae Mayhew (Game 1) and Mackenzie Helgerson (Game 2) tallied six and nine strikeouts, respectively, through five-inning games. Offensively, the Bulldogs produced 14 and 16 hits, coming to a climax in the nightcap with nine hits in the fifth inning.
“Those are moments you’re wanting to put up big numbers,” Bettendorf coach Mark Lewis said. His team improved to 8-3 (4-2 MAC). “They sat on (Clinton’s) pitchers pretty well and did a good job.”
Bettendorf jumped on the board immediately in the opener. Kennedy, Maggie Williams, Abby Michaelis and Mayhew — the Bulldogs’ 1-4 batters — each scored in the first inning. Mayhew sent down all three River Queen batters in the bottom half to maintain a 4-0 lead.
The Bulldogs then launched a seven-run second inning before Clinton subbed in pitcher Allyson Whitehead. Whitehead allowed only three runs through three innings, but only a few scoring opportunities emerged for Clinton baserunners.
In the bottom of the second, Keirstyn Davis and Sara Judge were in scoring position with no outs. Mayhew retired the next three to leave them stranded. Clinton didn’t have another scoring chance until Judge — recovering from a shoulder injury to make her first start of the year — cracked a two-run homer in the fourth to keep the game alive.
“I’ve been itching to get back,” Judge said. “I had to sit out (club) and high school season, and it’s just been bothering me the entire time. I couldn’t wait to get back. I was focused, put the pain behind me and went after it. I wasn’t going to hold back.”
Judge finished with three hits, including a double and four RBIs, between both games, a solid return in an otherwise ugly sweep for the River Queens.
In Game 2, Bettendorf again jumped in front 4-0 after the top of the second. Davis scored on a sacrifice from Jenna Stremlow to keep Clinton within striking distance at 4-1. Helgerson tightened up and sent down eight of the next 10 Clinton batters she saw.
After the 10-run Bulldog fifth, Judge’s two-run double was of little consequence. The game ended with another Helgerson strikeout.
“Bettendorf’s always strong; they’re strong in every program they have,” Cewe said. “They’re intimidating, but to be honest, 80 percent of the games we play are going to be intimidating opponents because the MAC is so deep.”
The Queens (2-7, 2-4 in the MAC) travel to Wyoming on Wednesday for a game against Midland. They will continue MAC play on Thursday when they visit Davenport Assumption for a doubleheader.
BETTENDORF 13, CLINTON 2
Bettendorf 470 02 — 13 14 0
Clinton 000 20 — 2 3 3
DoniRae Mayhew (5 ip, 4 h, 2 r, 2 er, 1 bb, 6 so) and Courtney Belk; Halee Vicks (1 2/3 ip, 8 h, 8 r, 6 er, 3 bb), Allyson Whitehead (3 1/3 ip, 6 h, 5 r, 4 er, 1 bb) and Cara Brewer. Multiple hits — Bettendorf (Maggie Williams 4, DoniRae Mayhew 3, Tori Wood 2), Clinton (Sara Judge 2). 3B — Bettendorf (Mackenzie Helgerson). HR — Clinton (Judge). RBIs — Bettendorf (Mayhew 3, Allie Lewis, Courtney Belk 2, Wood, Helgerson 2), Clinton (Judge 2).
BETTENDORF 16, CLINTON 3
Bettendorf 222 0(10) — 16 16 1
Clinton 010 02 — 3 4 2
Mackenzie Helgerson (5 ip, 4 h, 3 r, 3 er, 2 bb, 9 so) and Courtney Belk; Sydney Davis (4 1/3 ip, 10 h, 10 r, 10 er, 1 bb, 1 so), Grace Dornbush (1/3 ip, 5 h, 6 r, 6 er, 1 bb), Halee Vicks (1 ip, 1 h, 0 r) and Rebecca Divarco. Multiple hits — Bettendorf (Sarah Kennedy 2, Bailey Hocker 3, Abby Michaelis 3, DoniRae Mayhew 2, Allie Lewis 2). 2B — Bettendorf (Kennedy, Michaelis, Mayhew 2, Lewis), Clinton (Sara Judge, Rebecca Divarco). HR — Bettendorf (Kennedy). RBIs — Bettendorf (Kennedy 6, Michaelis, Mayhew 4, Lewis 2, Mackenzie Helgerson, Tori Wood), Clinton (Judge 2, Jenna Stremlow).