November 23, 2014

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Softball: Columbia’s perfectly placed popups down Clearview

COLUMBIA STATION — Location, location, location.

Columbia demonstrated Wednesday that line drives aren’t always necessary to win a game. The Raiders, ranked eighth in Division III, scored four of their five runs on perfectly placed popups to beat Clearview 5-1 at Cole Ross Field in a showdown of the premier Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division teams.

Just a week ago Columbia edged Clearview 5-2 in a 10-inning thriller.

The matchup Wednesday was also a well-pitched game.

Clearview (11-4, 5-2) scored first in the third inning on a bunt single by Rebecca Serfozo, Sarah Kaya’s solid single down the left-field line and Sarah Stambol’s hit up the middle. But the promising inning ended when Kaya was thrown out trying to reach third on Stambol’s hit.

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The Clippers never got beyond second base in their final four at-bats due to the pitching of Kailey Minarchik, who also won last week’s marathon.

Columbia (19-4, 13-0) was also held pretty much in check by Kaya, who had a no-hitter through four innings before the Raiders turned to the seeing-eye popups in the fifth.

Nicolette Kunath got it started with an infield hit and went to second on Christine Lyzen’s sacrifice bunt. She came home when Amanda Sedlock’s pop fly just outside the infield dropped between three Clippers. Sedlock went to second on a fielder’s choice before Nicolle Jenny’s lazy pop dropped behind second base, driving in the go-ahead run.

With two outs in the sixth, Kaley Marshall pounded a triple to deep right-center and came home on a throwing error. Two more insurance runs came on an error, stolen base and another pop-fly single, this one to left-center by Sedlock.

It was Sedlock’s first game this season with three runs batted in.

“The first hit was on an inside pitch,” she said. “The second was outside and I reached for it. Today was a total team effort. Clearview’s pitcher was really tough. Our team is having a blast right now.”

Minarchik struck out eight, walked none and gave up five hits for the win.

“My outside fastball and my curveball were really working for me,” she said. “I wasn’t worried the whole game because I knew my defense was there for me. Clearview’s pitcher is a great player. She’s not only a good pitcher but I feared her at the plate more than any of the other hitters.”

Kaya allowed only two earned runs while striking out seven and walking one.

“She was mowing us down for four innings so we decided to go to some small ball, and finally broke through,” Columbia coach Ken Lugo said.

Columbia can clinch a tie for the Stripes Division title today when it hosts Lutheran West. It has three more division games after that to wrap up the title by itself.

“They made the plays when it counted and we didn’t,” Clearview coach Denny Myers said. “It’s the little things that make the difference in most games.”

Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.