Clay wins City League softball titleWritten by Andy Ouriel | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Clay Eagles sculpted their grandest victory of the season after defeating the St. Ursula Arrows 4-0 in the City League championship May 24 at Scott Park.
Senior Kasey Graham tossed a complete-game, three-hit victory. Graham kept her team’s lead secure throughout the game, striking out 11 batters without allowing an Arrow to reach second base.
Graham said the team wanted to salvage the season after losing the Division I District Final against Springfield on May 22. She couldn’t think of a better way than to capture Clay’s second consecutive City League championship, while winning her final game for the Eagles.
“We knew we had to come out and show our best game. So that’s what we did,” Graham said.
Clay head coach Brenda Radabaugh said Graham’s dominating pitching performance was a key reason in the team clinching another championship.
“Graham threw a heck of a game,” Radabaugh said. “I couldn’t ask for much more.”
Radabaugh preaches solid defense and aggression to her team — something sophomore centerfielder Kim Crawford perfected during the playoffs.
Crawford, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the playoffs, collected six hits in as many at-bats during the two games.
She sprayed three hits in the field, stole two bases and scored the go-ahead run in the first inning of the championship game. Crawford also started a triple play after diving for a catch in the semifinal 4-3 victory against Whitmer.
“I always try to get on first base and get that first run,” Crawford said. “That puts our team at an advantage. It feels good.”
This was the third time St. Ursula lost to Clay this season. The team previously lost to Clay 9-1 twice earlier in the season.
“They are an excellent team,” said Amy Muszynski, St. Ursula head coach. “The first two games we didn’t play as well as we could of and today we just didn’t show up with the bats.”
Muszynski, who assumed the role as head coach after Frank Zalewski stepped down because of health reasons, said she wants to expand her knowledge of coaching and improve heading into next season.
“I’ve learned a lot from the girls,” she said. “Just getting more patience, understanding they are going to make mistakes and staying positive.”
Crawford looks forward to winning a third championship next season. Clay will have to win without Graham and four other graduating seniors, but Crawford said she looks forward to the challenge.
“We can regroup,” Crawford said “We got to come together and just keep building on our skill that we have now.”