MASON – Taylor Florea dominated in the circle and Natalie Lay belted a big homerun in the fifth inning as Clinton-Massie blanked Easton 6-0 Friday in a Division II Southwest District championship game at Mason High School.
The Lady Falcons are now 24-4 on the year and will play in the Division II Southwest Regional tournament May 23 at Mason High School.
“With the group coming back, I won’t say it was expected, but it kinda was expected,” CM coach Anthony Lauer said of his squad’s district championship. “Losing only one player from last year’s team, if we had never achieved this goal, we would have been highly disappointed.”
Florea, the powerful right-hander, overpowered the Eagles right from the get-go. Though she walked the second batter she faced, Florea she retired 19 straight batters and didn’t give up her first hit until two were out in the seventh. Florea finished with a two-hitter and struck out 12.
“I feel this was probably one of the best games she’s pitched all season,” Lauer said. “She didn’t hit her spots perfectly but she kept her pitch count low and it kept her from expending too much energy and she didn’t get tired.“
As things turned out, the only run Florea and the Lady Falcons needed came in the first when Kelsey Carter scampered home on a wild pitch. The play was close at the plate but Lauer was confident.
“She is one of those players I give her the green light on that,” Lauer said. “She’s a smart player. I tell her if you think you can get there, take it. She’s pretty quick but she has ball smarts. It was a little closer than I thought, than I liked. Even if she woulda been out, I wouldn’t have been upset with that.”
However, Lauer admits he was more than a bit nervous as the score remained 1-0 going to the fifth inning. Despite Florea’s dominance, the Lady Falcons were facing a scappy Eaton team that was one swing of the bat away from a tie score.
“I was a little nervous,” said Lauer. “We did not hit the ball as I expected us to hit the ball. When it was 1-0, I’m saying what am I going to do.
“Taylor was pitching a heck of a game. But I’ve been doing this long enough, if we allowed the game to go on and they shut us down that inning, it would have given them a little momentum. They were hanging in there.”
But in the fifth, Florea started things with a one-out single. With two outs, Lindsey Carter doubled to bring Lay to the plate. The freshman who has come through many times at the plate did so again with a rocket over the right-centerfield fence to make it 4-0.
“She’s a good hitter,” said Lauer. “That was a nice shot. It made me feel a lot better.”
May 18 2018
Div II Southwest District Championship
@Mason High School
Clinton-Massie 6 Eaton 0
(0) EATON (ab-r-h-rbi) Worley 3-0-0-0 Earley 2-0-0-0 Gels 3-0-0-0 Mowen 3-0-1-0 Miller 3-0-1-0 Lammers 2-0-0-0 Siblunk 1-0-0-0 Sorrell 2-0-0-0 Dungan 2-0-0-0 Sheperd 2-0-0-0. TOTALS 23-0-2-0
(6) CLINTON-MASSIE (ab-r-h-rbi) K. Carter 4-1-2-0 L. Carter 2-1-1-0 Lay 3-1-1-3 Sivert 3-0-0-0 Clayborn 3-0-0-0 Phelps 0-1-0-0 Anderson 1-0-0-0 Carruthers 3-1-1-1 Miller 3-0-0-0 Florea 3-0-2-1 Doan 0-1-0-0 Amberger 0-0-0-0. TOTALS 25-6-7-5
2B: CM-K. Carter, L. Carter, Carruthers, Florea
Gels (L) 6-7-6-3-1-2
Florea (W) 7-2-0-0-1-12
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports