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Offense opens up late for Clarke softball

CRESTON — Clarke head coach Lindsay Diehl didn't like her team's attitude here Friday against Creston.

"The feel we had to start the game, I didn't like it," she said. "Even winning that game 8-0 didn't feel good, because I felt like the kids showed up expecting (to win). It's great to expect to win all the time, but they kind of acted like it's just going to happen. I felt a sense of arrogance coming from our dugout tonight. I'm not fine with that."

Those problems were amplified by a developing pitcher's duel five innings into the game.

But, the Clarke offense finally broke out in the sixth and seventh innings to secure an 8-0 win over the Panthers.

Clarke was clinging to a 1-0 lead through five innings, after Devon Carson scored on an Amanda Kindred single up the middle in the top of the fourth inning.

Creston had an opportunity in the bottom of the fifth inning with runners on the corners and two outs, but Clarke pitcher Libby Bemis sat down No. 2 hitter Taylor Briley swinging to end the inning.

The Lady Indians had compiled just five hits through five innings, though.

"I thought Haylee (LaMasters) did an amazing job of keeping us off balance," Diehl said. "She moved the ball around the plate. And they've improved a ton from last year."

The potent Clarke offense turned things around in the sixth inning, however.

Bemis led off with a double and courtesy runner Sidney Marker scored on a Carley Robins single. Robins came around to home on a Kassidy Spurgin single to left field.

Spurgin scored on a Sydnee Redman single, making the score 4-0 in favor of the Lady Indians.

Diehl was pleased to see her team finally take the proper approach at the plate.

"We finally did lock it up and focus a little bit," she said. "Everybody was trying to hit gap shots. I said everybody's going to bring their A game against you and they have nothing to lose to come at you. You have to every pitch bring it from the first pitch to the last pitch."

The Lady Indians added to the lead in the top of the seventh inning, as Devon Carson hit a three-run double down the left field line and then scored on a double steal following a Spurgin single.

The seven insurance runs in the sixth and seventh innings were helpful, but with Bemis in the pitcher's circle, the first run was enough.

Bemis allowed just two hits and issued two walks while striking out 14 in the win.

"Libby gives me and the rest of the team so much confidence when she steps on the mound," Diehl said. "She has so much presence on the mound. It's fun to call a game for her, because she hits her spots and moves the ball around and keeps the batters guessing."

"She's very good," Creston head coach Mike McCabe said. "She's not going to let you get too much going. You're not going to string hits together against her."

Clarke improved to 3-0 for the season with the win, while Creston dropped to 2-2. The Lady Indians travel to Ankeny today and play in the Bondurant-Farrar Tournament on Saturday.

Ankeny Centennial 6, Clarke 4

Ankeny Centennial struck for five runs in the first inning against Clarke pitcher Alex Boyce and held on for a 6-4 win over the Lady Indians on Saturday.

Clarke plated three runs in the first inning, as Vanessa Bakley and Kassidy Spurgin each drove in runs for the Lady Indians. Ally Deutsch scored in the second inning to complete Clarke's scoring.

Boyce did not issue any walks and struck out one, giving up 15 hits in the loss.

Dowling Catholic 2, Clarke 0

Dowling Catholic scored once in the fourth inning and again in the sixth inning of a 2-0 win over Clarke on Saturday.

Kassidy Spurgin recorded the only hit of the game for Clarke, hitting a double in the fifth inning. She advanced to third base on a wild pitch, but got doubled off to end Clarke's scoring threat.

Senior pitcher Libby Bemis walked one with four strike outs, allowing just five hits in the loss.

Clarke 3, Centerville 2

Clarke bounced back from the losses over the weekend with a 3-2 South Central Conference win over Class 3A No. 15-ranked Centerville on Monday.

The Redettes scored two runs in the top of the fifth inning on a two-run home run by Lexi Riggell.

But, it wasn't enough to overcome the three Clarke runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Kennedy Crees drew a leadoff walk and stole second base before taking third base on an error. Vanessa Bakley drove in Carley Robins with a single. Libby Bemis hit a double to left field. Bemis scored when Amanda Kindred drew a bases-loaded walk.

Bemis allowed just four hits in the win, walking none and striking out eight.

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