MADISON — On a night where the temperatures dropped near freezing, it was Emily Seale that brought the heat to lead the Madison County softball team to a 9-0 victory over Clarke County.
The junior pitcher allowed just two hits while striking out seven in the circle for the Mountaineers. At the plate, she had three hits, including a two-run homer to straightaway centerfield to secure a win in the Bull Run District opener for both schools.
“She pitches good and the hitting at the plate, with the home run too,” Madison County coach Jesse Yowell said. “She has a lot of good pitches and we mix it up pretty good. For the most part, she hits her spots and gets batters to swing [and miss] and she does a good job at that.”
Both teams squandered scoring chances early on as both starting pitchers wiggled out of early jams to keep things scoreless.
Clarke County got runners on first and third with one out in the first inning before Seale struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
Cassie Smith doubled with one out in the bottom of the inning, but Eagles starter Abby Pearce retired the next batters in order to keep the game scoreless.
The Mountaineers scored runs in each four of the next five innings to seize control.
Morgan Clark hit a tapper in front of the plate in the bottom of the second inning to score courtesy runner Emily Deane from third to give Madison County a 1-0 lead.
Sophie Adams roped a single back up the middle in the third inning to score courtesy runner Abi Farmer for a 2-0 advantage.
“We played good, but we got a slow start hitting definitely,” Yowell said. “I felt like we should’ve started a lot sooner than we did, but it came around. It was a little cold tonight, not trying to make excuses, but sometimes we’ve got to hit a little bit better pitch and adjust to the speed.”
Madison County broke things open with a five-run fourth inning. Adams sparked the rally with a two-run single to center to start the rally. Later in the inning, Seale belted a two-run blast to center to give the Mountaineers a 7-0 edge.
The scoring carried over to the fifth as Yowell’s team struck for two more runs. Emily Price doubled and came around to score on an error. Bailey Smith followed with an RBI single later in the inning to extend the advantage to 9-0.
That was more than enough offensive support for the Mountaineers, who dominated in the circle. Smith gave up a hit and struck out the final four batters she faced to secure the three-hit shutout.