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Sandy Creek masters South Jefferson again

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ADAMS CENTER — South Jefferson coach Steve Randall greeted Sandy Creek senior Chelsea Claflin with a hug and a handshake after Wednesday’s Frontier League softball crossover game.

He then leaned in and said in jest, “I’m glad we’re done with you.”

Claflin allowed an unearned run on three hits, Viki White drove in a run with a two-out single, and Jordan Miller followed that up with a two-run home run as the Comets captured a 3-1 victory over the Spartans in a wet and muddy game at Minkler Road.

It was the fourth straight year that Claflin has pitched Sandy Creek to a victory over South Jefferson. She has yet to allow an earned run through 53 innings pitched this season.

The Comets improved to 13-1 overall and 12-1 in the league. They have given up only five runs all season and snapped a streak of six consecutive shutouts.

“We really needed a game that was as competitive as this one to help us along the way,” Claflin said.

South Jefferson senior Brooke Lalone dueled with Claflin through the first four innings. Lalone had allowed just two hits to Claflin’s one up to that point.

But Shania Darling led off the fifth with an infield single for Sandy Creek, setting up White, the senior catcher, to drive her in with a two-out blooper to shallow center that put Sandy Creek up 1-0.

Miller came to the plate next and blasted a pitch to deep left field, not giving the Spartans a remote chance to make a play. The field does not have a home run wall.

“I was just sick of popping up because I have been a lot lately,” said Miller, the senior shortstop. “It felt absolutely perfect coming off the bat. I just wish there was a fence so I didn’t have to sprint (around the bases).”

Lalone allowed just one hit the rest of the way.

“They got us in one inning and that’s the way this type of softball goes,” Randall said. “You play it and play it and play it and then one inning they get a couple runs and you’re done.”

South Jefferson, which dropped to 11-2, scored on a squeeze bunt by Hannah Mullin in the sixth inning.

That brought the tying run to the plate with two outs in the form of the Spartans’ most lethal hitter, junior catcher Jackie Decker.

But Decker’s hard-hit ball flew right into the glove of Sandy Creek centerfielder Gabriella Guarasce to end the threat.

“Jackie just got under it, hit a nice ball to center field and just got under it or it would have been a different story,” Randall said. “That’s the one kid in the whole league I would want up to bat.”

Claflin finished with eight strikeouts and three walks in a complete game for Sandy Creek. She has yielded just three runs thus far, none of them earned, with just four games left in the regular season.

“If someone gets on I know that if I let them put it in play my team is going to back me up and make the play,” Claflin said. “That’s also why, to this point this year, I don’t have an earned run. It’s because the fielders have played really well.”

Kylee Martin singled and doubled for Sandy Creek, while Claflin and Karintha Myslivecek each singled.

Lalone scattered seven hits to go with a pair of strikeouts and one walk in seven innings. Decker, Angela Cataldo and Heather Williams each provided a hit for South Jefferson.







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