Clovers' run ends with sectional finals loss to Cadets
CLAYTON -- The wonderful two-week run for the Cloverdale softball team came to an end on Thursday with an 11-0 five-inning loss to Cascade in the Sectional 44 championship game.
For the team's two seniors, though, the fairy tale story end of the season is more of a "Once upon a time ...." than a "... happily ever after."
"It's been a great season with them," Cloverdale coach Brian Knapp said. "But they're going to go on. Bradanne is going to (the University of) Kentucky to study. ... Katt is going to Purdue. She's got a scholarship for the (Golden Silks Color) Guard and an aviation career.
"They're going to move on and we will, too."
The Clovers (8-11, 1-9 WCC), and seniors Bradanne Toney and Katt Raisor, finished the season winners of five of their last six games prior to the game against 2A No. 3 Cascade.
The Cadets (24-1, 10-0 WCC) put a quick stop to that momentum, scoring two runs in each of the first three innings before exploding for a five-run fifth to put the decision out of reach.
On the other side of the ball, Cascade junior Kate Breedlove was in complete control.
In the five-inning game, Breedlove recorded the first 14 outs by a strikeout. The only aberration was a soft liner hit back to the rubber for the final out in the bottom of the fifth.
After the first six hitters went down in order, Beka Jordan became the first Clover to put the ball in play in the bottom of the third.
Jordan blooped a bunt over the charging infielders the dropped safely and nestled into the dirt behind the pitching circle.
Breedlove K'd the next three in a row. She has given up just five earned runs this season, none in three games against Cloverdale, and brings a 0.43 ERA into next week's regional.
Raisor finally had an easy inning in the fourth, aside from being struck in the knee by a line drive, but the 6-0 deficit the Clovers already faced was too much.
Toney hit a sharp ground ball with one out in the fourth, the only solid contact Cloverdale made with the bat on Thursday, and reached base after the ball ricocheted of Kayla Havens' shoulder.
Two batters later Adri Patterson drew the Clovers' only walk of the game, and made it their only inning with multiple base runners.
"Kate threw a heck of a ballgame," Knapp said. "I just like to make sure we get one hit in there. That's basically what we've had off of them in all three games."
Cascade, the sectional host but representing the road team in the game, scored five runs and sent 10 hitters to the plate in the fifth, giving them enough of a lead to end the gave in five.
Raisor's line-out to Breedlove in the bottom of the Clovers' season.
The Cadets' sectional championship puts them in a match-up with Indianapolis Scecina, which Cascade hosts on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"We made a heck of a run. What can I say?" Knapp said. "They were the better team. They've been the better team all season. They've earned it.
"I hope they come back with that 2A state championship. I think they have the ability to do that."
While the final performance wasn't quite as fun as the team's recent play, Knapp said he is proud of his team for continuing to play hard and put together an extended display of solid softball.
The Clovers lose just two seniors, but the pair has been extremely important to the program.
Raisor threw nearly every inning for Cloverdale this year and Toney was the team's leading hitter.
"I'm going to miss them," Knapp said. "They're my big stick and my pitcher. I hate to see Bradanne go. I hate to see Katt go. One more season with them would be nice, but seniors have to go every year.
"Bradanne's come along way this season. The girls feed off her. Halfway through the season, she took off (at the plate), and then everybody else took off.
"Katt ... I don't even know how many innings she's thrown. She carried the load. She kept most of the teams off balance."
IHSAA Sectional championship
Cascade 222 05 -- 11 16 0 7
Cloverdale 000 00 -- 0 2 3 3
WP -- Breedlove (14-1)
LP -- Raisor (8-11)
2B -- Collier