Following Friday’s mercy-ruled loss against Midway’s Lady Raiders, the Lady Dark Horses pulled through against Union’s Lady Spartans during Tuesday’s home conference game. Clinton bested Union 10-9 in a true comeback game, taking advantage of a final-inning lead despite a neck-and-neck scoreboard with a rocky start for the Horses.
Union dominated scoring early on, opening with two runs by batters Ariana Bell and Shamrya Hope in the top of the game. Clinton could only answer in the bottom of the first with a single run by Lauryn Moore. Union’s defensive front proved a force, managing to prevent what would have been an early tie by Clinton’s Markaysia Hobbs at the third base.
The heated second continued the trend. Union responded in the top with a two-run score of their own, and despite a hot-hitting two-run gain by DeKyla Moore and Naomi Miller, it still brought the bottom of the inning to an ominous 3-5. This recalled previous issues for the team, according to Lady Dark Horses Coach Todd Slater. “It was kind of the same thing we had last game,” he said. “We can’t open with mistakes.”
The Lady Dark Horses came together in the third, however, forming a strong defensive response in the top that carried momentum into the bottom with two runs by Amber Strickland and DeKyla Moore — a second personal run — to tie the game. This stalemate commenced through the fourth and broke with a two-run lead by the Lady Spartans in the top of the fifth.
Nevertheless, a three-run burst by Clinton in the sixth broke the tension. Lauryn Moore crossed the home plate for a second personal run of the game, with Hailee Stone and Maccailynn Sessoms rounding out the sudden lead at 8-7.
It was a short-lived advantage. Union hit back in the top of the final with two runs by batters Alison Alphin and Hanna Smith in a sudden upset. However, Clinton quickly countered despite the strong showing, matching the two runs with two of their own to secure a 10-9 finish.
Following the game, Slater complimented Stone in particular.
“She played seven great innings and then got the game-winning hit,” the coach said. “Everyone needs to step up like that, and we need to bring that to the rest of the game.”
He also spoke to points of improvement going forward in the conference. “We just need to cut down on those early mistakes,” he said. “We can’t rely on those big explosive innings. Our head’s still defensive, and we can’t let teams build up those five innings and expect to come back every time.”
This loss puts Union overall at 0-7 with their conference score at 0-3. They are hosting Heide Trask on Thursday evening.
Clinton’s new record is 1-4 overall with 1-2 in conference play. Their next game is Monday at Hobbton High, against the Lady Wildcats.
Reach Daron Barefoot at email@example.com.