Despite some first game jitters, Clarinda softball coach Seth Allbaugh saw plenty to be pleased with as the Cardinals opened the season with a doubleheader Thursday, May 23, at Kuemper Catholic.
“It was good for us to finally get on the field. Practice has been good, but there is nothing like getting into a game and seeing it live,” Allbaugh said.
Kuemper Catholic captured a 7-2 win over the Cardinals in the first game. Clarinda had to contend with a rain delay of one hour and 15 minutes during the game. Rain then impacted the second game as well as play was suspended at the top of the sixth inning with the score tied at 6.
“Our nerves got the better of us in a few situations that first game, but we responded pretty well. The good thing is these girls are not afraid to ask questions and learn. I expect us to be even better next time out,” Allbaugh said.
Kuemper opened the scoring with two runs in the second inning. The Knights then pushed the lead to 5-0 in the third.
However, Clarinda trimmed the deficit to 5-2 in the top of the fifth inning. Aliyah St. Romain got things started with a walk and advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches.
After a walk to Bradlie Wilmes put runners on the corners, St. Romain scored on a third wild pitch. St. Romain also turned in a single and a stolen base during the game.
Wilmes also advanced to second base on the run scoring wild pitch. She moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Bryn Morgenstern and scored the second Clarinda run on a base by Addison Shane.
“We did a good job the whole day of taking pitches and taking walks, but we left eight runners on base. We could not get that big hit to bring people in, but we got comfortable the second and third time through the order and started getting some key hits to push a couple runs across,” Allbaugh said.
Wilmes finished with two walks and one run scored. Morgenstern delivered a pair of singles and one stolen base. Along with her RBI single, Shane also turned in a defensive gem as she made an over the shoulder catch near the fence to save a couple of runs.
Kennedy Reed also tacked one hit as Clarinda finished with five hits in the game.
Aziah Smalley was charged with the loss despite going the distance for Clarinda. She allowed seven earned runs on eight hits and four walks, but also posted four strikeouts.
“Aziah threw pretty well. She was efficient and made some big pitches when we needed them. Kuemper had the bases loaded once with no outs and one run already in. She got a strikeout, a fly out that allowed one more run to score and a ground ball to third to get out of the inning. That could have been a big inning for them, but we got out of it with minimal damage,” Allbaugh said.