Hop, Hop, hooray: CCA blanks Marion in regional quarterfinals

Softball: Clippers pitcher spins shutout, drives in 3

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OXFORD — Skylar Hop was the model of efficiency. And accuracy.

The senior hurler needed only 42 pitches (including 34 strikes) to navigate through Clear Creek Amana’s five-inning 10-0 waxing of Marion in a Class 4A softball regional quarterfinal Thursday night at McAreavy Field.

“When your defense is behind you, it really helps,” Hop said. “The defense was behind me tonight.

“I usually don’t throw a lot of balls. I know I can make the other team swing.”

Hop only struck out two batters, but pitched to contact throughout, and generally early in the count.

Seven of Marion’s 19 batters made contact on the first pitch, six for outs.

That, and a robust offense that collected 12 hits, equalled a mismatch. CCA (19-21) advanced to face No. 6 Oskaloosa in a regional semifinal Saturday at Oskaloosa. The Indians earned a first-round bye.

“They’re strong, but you’ve got to show up,” CCA Coach Barb Lynn said. “Anything can happen at any time. I’m pleased with where we are. If we have our bats going, we can compete with anybody.”

Hop ignited the bat brigade, driving in the Clippers’ first three runs. Her first-inning double put CCA ahead for good, then she added an RBI single in the third to make it 3-0.

CCA busted it open with a four-run, five-hit ambush in the fourth, all after two outs. Megan Beckler, Grace Murray and Jacqueline Fairholm all collected RBI singles.

The Clippers added three runs in the fifth, aided by a pair of errors by the Indians, who retired at 12-22.

Claire Navara collected three hits. Murray and Hop each reached base four times.

“We’ve been focused lately,” Lynn said. “Our bats have gotten hot. We’ve been hitting the ball well. It’s the postseason and we’re having fun.”

Madison Wilson collected two of Marion’s four hits.

CLEAR CREEK AMANA 10, MARION 0 (5 innings)

Class 4A Regional Quarterfinal, at Oxford

Clear Creek Amana 201 43 — 10 12 0

Marion 000 00 — 0 4 4

Skyler Hop and Grace Murray. Alicia Steepleton, Libby Draves (5) and Sydney Nielsen. W — Hop (10-9). L — Steepleton (10-15).

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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