A visit from Clarke Central was just what the Salem softball team needed to end a losing streak. Whitney Lester threw a no-hitter and a pair of freshmen led the way at the plate as the Seminoles pounded Clarke Central 12-0 in four innings in Region 8-AAAAA play Thursday.
Salem won for the first time in league play, improving to 1-3 and 2-5 overall.
Lester struck out six and the visitors from Athens reached base just twice in 13 trips to the plate - once on a passed ball on a third strike, which was quickly erased on a double play, and later on a dropped fly ball.
Meanwhile first-year players Mariah Briney, who hit a two-run home run and had an RBI-double and Kennedy Lester (3-for-3, four stolen bases) led the most recent rout in a lopsided series. Since Clarke won in August, 2007, Salem has won four consecutive meetings by a combined score of 62-0.
“They’re young,” Salem coach Ronnie Miller said of Clarke. “Our freshmen were big. Everybody consistently…had some good at bats.”
It was a much-needed victory for Salem, which had lost four consecutive games coming in. That streak included Wednesday’s 9-4 loss to Walnut Grove. The Seminoles led 4-2 before a solo home run and a pair of errors leading to three more runs in the sixth helped Walnut Grove pull away.
“We had (Walnut Grove) beat,” Miller said. “We were up the entire game, we let it go. That’s been the story for us, we just can’t finish. That’s our goal from now on, we’ve got to finish these games. If our defense could come around, the bats are going to happen.”
Salem will take the weekend off before traveling crosstown to play Rockdale Monday. After that, the Seminoles head to Athens Tuesday for a league game with Cedar Shoals, then to Madison County for a weekend tournament.
“We’ve got five or six games next week. We’re getting better as we go, just trying to get that defense going,” Miller said. “Don’t count us out yet.”