Clarke softball picked up a 6-4 win during a late-inning rally over Southeast Warren Thursday.
Southeast Warren entered the game hitting near .370 as a team, tied with Class 1A No. 5 Wayne for first in the Pride of Iowa Conference.
With a high-powered offense, Clarke sent one of the top pitchers in the South Central Conference to the circle, Emma Bolton. With a 1.74 ERA, she holds the second-highest ERA in the conference.
In the first inning, the Warhawk offense jumped on Emma Bolton early. An error on Sadie Marker at short and a stolen base put the leadoff runner on second base before Alivia Ruble hit an RBI double to give Southeast Warren a 1-0 lead with no outs.
Emma Bolton allowed one more run to score after AJ Dorsey hit a double for a 2-0 Southeast Warren lead. A diving play from Kaityln Halsband in left field kept Dorsey from scoring and got Bolton out of the inning.
“I hadn’t seen them play before, so I had to learn my pitch calling for them,” Clarke head coach Tricia Bolton said. “... You have to learn every step and when its the first inning, you still have a lot of ball game left.”
Clarke’s offense made a statement of their own in the bottom half of the first. Kiaya Dunbar singled and stole second before Emma Bolton hit a 2-0 pitch opposite field over the right-field fence to tie the game at two.
Emma Bolton settled in after the first inning, mowing down Southeast Warren batters until the fifth inning. Through the second through fourth innings, she allowed two baserunners, both coming from walks.
Emma Bolton finished the game pitching all seven innings, striking out eight batters and allowing one earned run en route to picking up the win.
Commanding the strike zone inside and out while mixing pitches, Emma Bolton gave the Lady Indian offense a chance to scratch runs. Clarke scored two in the third inning to give her a lead.
Marker led the inning off with a single and stolen base, scoring on a sacrifice fly from Emma Bolton before Halsband came up with two outs.
Halsband hit Clarke’s second home run of the game, giving the Lady Indians their largest lead of the game, 4-2.
Emma Bolton and Halsband went a combined 2-for-5, with both hits being home runs. Emma Bolton drove in three runs while Halsband drove in one.
The energy from the lead was felt throughout the dugout as the enthusiastic group looked to take a big win at home.
“I’ve used the word ‘one’ with the girls. Only need every ‘one,’” Tricia Bolton said. “We talk about how important ever single role is, 18 girls on the team. Eighteen people are important to the team. It takes everybody to get those things to happen, win those ball games and keep the energy level up because everybody feeds off of it.”
The Warhawks tied the game in the top of the fifth, scoring two runs after an error, fielder’s choice and base hit.
Clarke threatened in the bottom of the inning, but couldn’t push any runs across. Alexis Watson started the sixth inning with a single, swinging the momentum to the Lady Indians.
A walk to Nicole Barnard and singles from Taylor Kartchner and Marker gave the Lady Indians the final two runs they needed.
“It was a complete team effort. We’ve been talking a lot about focusing on the process and we have to let the little things go and flush it,” Tricia Bolton said. “I thought we did a great job of that.”
Clarke 6, Southeast Warren 4
R H E
SW 200 020 0 — 4 8 1
CL 202 020 X — 6 10 2
SW: Kaylyn Holmes 6IP 4Ks 1BB and Jose Kosman. CL: Emma Bolton 7IP 8Ks 3BB and Kiaya Dunbar. W — Bolton. L –Holmes. HR — Bolton, Kaityln Halsband. 3B — None. 2B — SW: Alivia Ruble, AJ Dorsey. RBI — SW: Ruble (1), Dorsey (1), Brooklyn Page. CL: Bolton (3), Sadie Marker (1), Halsband (1), Taylor Kartchner (1).