CLARINDA – Aziah Smalley struck out seven and started a game-finishing double play on a hard line drive that came right back at her midsection in leading Clarinda to a 5-1 win over Bedford, Tuesday, July 7.
Smalley’s performance helped the Cardinals win their third consecutive game and improve to 3-9 on the season.
“It feels pretty good,” Smalley said about the winning streak. “The team is finally coming together as a team and our bats have been way better of late.”
Smalley gave up seven hits, two walks and hit two batters, but stranded 10 Bulldogs.
“I was throwing a lot of inside pitches,” said Smalley, “and hitting the inside of their hands so they can’t hit the ball far out there.”
Cardinals coach Seth Allbaugh was pleased with his senior pitcher’s performance.
“She was doing a good job hitting her spots today,” said Allbaugh. “When she is dialed in, she’s tough to hit.”
A stolen base after a walk and a single gave Bedford runners at second and third with one out in the seventh inning when Leslie Sheley hit a hard line drive right back to Smalley. She said there isn’t much one can do when it comes that fast, but she was able to hold on to the ball and throw to third to complete the double play.
Offensively, Clarinda put up two crooked numbers. Hallee Fine doubled in a run in the first inning, and then courtesy runner Jordyn McQueen scored on Hailee Knight’s single.
Bedford’s run came in the third inning on a sacrifice fly, but Clarinda answered with three runs in the home third. A single and a walk started the inning, and then an error plated one run. Jillian Graham stepped up with two outs, and doubled to center field to drive in two and extend the lead to its final margin.
“We had multiple-run innings and that’s what we need,” said Allbaugh, “and the way we were pitching and playing defense it was good enough.”
Fine and Hailee Knight led the Cardinals with two hits each. Graham and Kylie Shackelford had the only other two hits, but Allbaugh said everyone in the lineup was productive.
“Everyone did something and that’s huge,” said Allbaugh. “We had production from batters one through nine. When you can do that you can score a lot of runs.”
The Cardinals conclude the regular season with non-conference games against Riverside and Southwest Valley and then travel to Atlantic, Wednesday, July 15 to open regional play.
“We need to rest for one, and then take care of business to finish the regular season,” said Allbaugh. “Then we get two days off and get ready for Atlantic. We have seen them before, we know what to expect, it’s about coming out and executing.”
Bedford pitcher Emily Baker and Macie Sefrit led the offense with two hits as the Bulldogs fell to 8-7 on the season.