OAKLEAF - In the opening round at the second annual Oakleaf Softball Tournament of Champions, the Clay Lady Blue Devils, Final Four finishers in Class 6A, faced the Trinity Christian Academy Conquerors, Final Four finishers in Class 4A, and the opening 1-0 third inning lead held until errors in fifth landed a 5-0 victory for Trinity on Thurs., March 21.
“We had good fight back late in the game” said Clay Head Coach Matt Lewis. “We have to fight and win innings 1 through 5 before. We can’t be in that situation. We had two runners on in the first inning and couldn’t do anything with it.”
In the end, Clay could never get a runner past second base all night and Trinity would add another run in the sixth to end Clay’s hope of moving to the championship round.
After some good back and forth play and no score, in the third inning off a bunt, Trinity had their runner on base early. Off a center field double, the first run came across, but Clay would hold the inning at 1-0.
It was the Clay bats that never made the trip over to Oakleaf as time and again Clay would put up three batters, and all would be retired with no production.
Off ground balls in the fifth inning, Trinity had runners at first and third. Clay got the first out and the stout defense shown so far looked like they may frustrate Trinity once again. Off a full count, a ground ball to second base, played at home saw the second Trinity score.
“Defensively we had a bad day,” said Lewis. “Their pressure caused it and we just didn’t respond.”
In the second round, Clay faced the West Nassau Warriors and defeated them 3-0, moving them to the Consolation Round Championship game against the West Orange Warriors. Clay went up 2-0 early, only to be tied 2-2 with a Warrior run in the fourth and sixth inning.
Clay shut down the Warrior attack in the seventh, a Morgan Silvis single to left field scored Marianne McDonald from second base for a walk off 3-2 victory to avenge the first round loss the Blue Devils had Thursday.
“We just needed a base runner” said Clay Head Coach Matt Lewis. “I went up to Morgan and said give me a base hit and we’ll score.”