CLARINDA – Makayla Fichter’s RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning brought the go-ahead run across the plate in a 4-3 Cardinal victory over St. Albert, Thursday, July 2.
The win was the first of the season for Clarinda in 10 games. It was also the last opportunity for the Cardinals to earn a Hawkeye 10 Conference win.
With one out and the score tied in the home sixth, Hallee Fine doubled down the left field line. After a popout, Fichter shot the ball down the right-field line to trade places with courtesy runner Jordyn McQueen. Fichter took third on a wild pitch and then scored on Kaylah Degase’s single to extend the Cardinal lead to 4-2.
“It feels really good,” Fichter said on the win. “We worked so hard this season. Our games really don’t show that, but this one definitely did.”
The insurance run proved large for the Cardinals as St. Albert scored a run in the seventh. An infield single started the inning. A pair of one-out singles by the top of the order trimmed the Clarinda lead to 4-3 and put runners on first and second with one out. Olivia Barnes followed with a soft line drive to Degase at shortstop. She made the catch and doubled the runner off second base to end the game and secure the win.
“We have been close in several games,” Clarinda head coach Seth Allbaugh said. “This is the first time we played a complete game this season.”
Clarinda took the lead early with two runs in the first inning. Bradlie Wilmes singled and scored on Emmy Allbaugh’s double. Allbaugh scored on a groundout later in the inning to give Clarinda a 2-0 lead.
The Saintes had at least one hit in six different innings and had at least one base runner in every inning, but could only manage single runs in the fourth and fifth to tie the game.
Aziah Smalley earned the win in the circle for the Cardinals. She struck out only one and gave up nine hits, but allowed only two walks and three runs, two earned.
“The biggest thing was (Smalley) was really sharp on her location,” said Allbaugh. “She won’t overpower you, but if she hits her spots and is mixing in that change up, she’s tough to hit.”
Six of the seven Cardinal hits came from the top six in the batting order. Allbaugh said that’s not surprising, but the offense finding a way to produce a couple multi-hit innings is something they have needed all season.
“The top half of our batting order has been pretty good all year,” said Allbaugh. “The biggest problem for us has been stringing hits together.”
The win pushed Clarinda to 1-9 overall and in the Hawkeye 10 Conference.
Isabel Pershing and Lainey Sheffield led the Saintes with two hits each. St. Albert fell to 4-9 overall and finished conference play at 4-6.