CLOVERDALE -- Paige Gutierrez struck out six for the home side as Cloverdale took down Class 3A No.4 Edgewood 5-1 Thursday night in Cloverdale. The senior went the distance, scattering five hits throughout her seven innings pitched, three to leadoff hitter Rachel Delay, walking none.
Delay led off the game with a base hit into left field, battling back from a 0-2 deficit for the game's first base runner. She was able to advance all the way to third due to confusion by the Clover defense, scoring on a ground ball back to Gutierrez. Cloverdale locked down after another base hit, using two strikeouts and a 3-0 fly out to stop the bleeding in the first inning.
Heather Goss started the Cloverdale first inning off in style, sending a rocket down the left field line for a double. Her teammates were unable to advance Lindsay Robinson, the courtesy runner, beyond second base.
"When your leadoff starts things with a double, you've got to build off of that," interim head coach Brian Knapp said following the game.
The Mustang bats would fall essentially silent from there on out. Gutierrez struck out two of her six in the top of the second, sandwiching a lineout between two swinging strikeouts.
Cloverdale managed to pull even in the bottom half of the second. Brianna Hoff walked on four consecutive pitches, Jessica Winders bunted and beat the throw to first base and, after an Adrianna Patterson strikeout, Rebekah Jordan forced an error by the Mustang shortstop, plating Hoff. Goss was walked intentionally but Bradanne Toney flew out to the shortstop with the bases loaded.
After a quick three-batter top and bottom half of the third, Cloverdale took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs and Patterson on second, Justeena Wellington reached on an error by the first baseman and the Mustangs again intentionally walked Goss. This time Toney was prepared, ripping the two-out bases loaded double off the middle of the left field wall, clearing the bases. Gutierrez approached the batters box ready to do more damage and she came through, knocking a single to center field to score Toney.
"Tonight the bottom of our lineup hit the best of anyone," Knapp mentioned of the fourth inning. "They kept walking (Goss) and (Toney) came up big for us, even after struggling early."
With a four-run cushion, Gutierrez was in absolute cruise control, giving up only a single hit and two total base runners from there on. Cloverdale would eventually pick up the 5-1 victory, the first in three years against Edgewood.
"Paige pitched a great game," Knapp added, "she kept them off balance all night. Our team as a whole has been playing great over the last week, they went 3-0."
Offensively Cloverdale was spearheaded by Toney's three-run double, while Jordan and Gutierrez each picked up an RBI a piece. Winders was the only Clover to secure two hits in the game, and Gutierrez, Patterson and Wellington each struck out three times.
Paige Ernst threw five innings for Edgewood, allowing all five runs on seven hits, walking three and striking out five while earning the loss. Delay threw the bottom of the sixth for the Mustangs, striking out two of the three batters she faced.
Edgewood 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 -- 1 5 2
Cloverdale 0 1 0 4 0 0 X -- 5 7 3
WP -- P. Gutierrez
LP -- P. Ernst
2B -- None; H. Goss, B. Toney
SB -- None; J. Winders