Clay's Harleigh Isbell connects in the bottom of the third inning on Wednesday against Notre Dame. THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
Behind the one-hit pitching of senior Brooke Gallaher, and a 12-hit attack, Clay took a decisive 8-0 victory Wednesday over Notre Dame in Three Rivers Athletic Conference softball.
Gallaher (3-0), the TRAC’s 2013 pitcher of the year, was not at her sharpest, throwing only 54 of her 99 pitches for strikes. She did get plenty of help from an errorless defense.
“I was a little anxious today before the game but my team pulled through in the field, so we did pretty good,” she said.
“With my team hitting that put me a little more at ease on the mound.
"It feels good to be one game up on them. It shows the TRAC that we’re here to win.”
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Clay (4-1, 3-0 TRAC) gave Gallaher all the scoring she would need in the bottom of the first inning. Haley Dominique slammed a one-out double to left and scored on Jamie Miller’s two-out single down the left-field line.
The victorious Eagles added three runs off ND pitcher Cassie Gillespie in the second, two of them unearned on an error by Eagles shortstop Amanda Del Monte.
Clay’s hitting came predominantly from the bottom portion of the lineup, as the last four hitters were a combined 8-for-12 with four RBIs and six runs scored.
Leading the attack were Nos. 6 and 7 hitters Rebekah Yenrick and Baleigh Bocook, who were each 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. Bocook also had an RBI.
“Our batters did a good job all the way through from top to bottom, and we played a nice, clean game on defense,” Clay coach Brenda Radabaugh said.
“That was nice to see. We had some miscues on Saturday [doubleheader split at Anthony Wayne, 17-5 win and 5-3 loss], so it was nice to see them bounce back with some solid defense.
“Brooke threw really well. She did a nice job hitting her spots and doing what she wanted to do.”
As for Notre Dame (2-1, 2-1 TRAC), which drew four walks from Gallaher, its only hit came from No. 9 hitter Emily Lehmkuhl, a single to center in the third inning. Gallaher struck out six.
In addition to yielding all 12 of Clay’s hits, Gillespie also walked two and struck out three.
Her 33-pitch fifth inning saw Clay add four insurance runs on three hits and both of her walks.
“We’ve faced [Gallaher] many times before and she’s real good at hitting her spots,” ND coach Norm Kujawa said. “We knew it was going to be a challenge.
"She wasn’t as sharp as I’ve seen her in the past, but we just couldn’t square up on a ball. There were too many popups, and too many easy plays for them.”