The mission was to retain the Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division title and after its second win in as many days against top contender Clearview, the Raiders can just about celebrate.
Senior Amanda Sedlock had a pair of doubles and drove in a pair of runs and junior Kailey Minarchick had three hits and held Clearview scoreless over the final four innings as the Raiders defeated the Clippers 7-5 to sweep the two-game home-and-home series and give themselves a half-game lead in the division.
Columbia (17-6, 11-2) controls its own destiny with PAC games remaining against Brooklyn, Brookside and Wellington. The Clippers (13-7, 11-3) need to sweep their final two games against Brooklyn and hope the Raiders stumble along the way to claim a share of the conference championship.
“It feels good now to know that we just have to take it one game at a time and we have this on lockdown,” said Sedlock, who drove in Minarchick with the go-ahead run in the fifth inning. “It feels good to be in control. We wanted to score runs early because that takes the pressure off of Kailey and puts it on the other team.”
Columbia’s Brooke White led off the game with a single and Emily Viccarone followed a batter later with another single before Minarchick doubled both home.
An inning later, White had a run-scoring triple, the second of her three hits, and scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-0.
The Clippers battled back, however, scoring five times in the third inning to tie the game. Elizabeth Janis provided the big hit, a double that scored Sarah Stambol and Sarah Kaya.
“I give our girls a lot of credit, they got down but they fought back and made it a game,” Clearview coach Denny Myers said. “That shows toughness and character. Columbia is a good team and, unfortunately, we just couldn’t keep them down after we tied it up.”
Neither Minarchick nor Kaya were in top form, pitching for the sixth consecutive day. Kaya allowed 11 hits but still managed 12 strikeouts. Minarchick allowed 10 hits and was helped out by her defense making some nice plays behind her.
“It’s rough facing the same team twice in a matter of hours,” Minarchick said. “Yesterday was a battle of the pitchers. Today I was excited we got those run early because I knew it would be this kind of game. We knew we were in for a fight and my teammates really came through.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.