As the Clay High seniors back at school tossed their caps in the air to celebrate graduation, the Clay High Blue Devils softball team celebrated an extra innings Regional Championship win against the West Florida Jaguars, 1-0.
They will advance to play in the 4A FHSAA State Semifinal next Thursday.
The game was dominated by both teams’ defenses throughout most of the game. Gabby Ellis pitched the whole game for Clay High. In 10 innings pitched, Ellis threw 124 pitches, gave up five hits, and struck out 11 batters. Sydney Scapin started on the mound for West Florida. Scapin gave up only two hits and one run for the whole game.
Since Clay High was the visiting team, they had to make one more defensive stand to win the game. In the bottom of the 10th inning, West Florida had batters reach first and second base. However, Clay High got out of the jam unscathed to win the Regional Championship. The last out was videoed by David Ellis.
Four of the five seniors on the roster missed their graduation because the game could not be rescheduled. The seniors; Ema Martin, Sydney Davis, Gabby Wiseman, and Abby Rutledge tossed their caps in the air and celebrated on the field. They were also able to FaceTime their teammate, Kierstyn Mann, who did not make the trip so she could walk at graduation. They were very supportive of each other’s decisions.
Clay High head coach Matt Lewis said that the defense stepped up for the Friday night game.
“They had opportunities, but we were able to make defensive plays,” said Lewis.
Lewis was proud of Ellis for her performance on the mound. Lewis said that she had an injury during the season that caused her to miss games. She rehabbed and came back to help the team win.
“She came back from an in-season injury and has come back stronger and better,” said Lewis. “I couldn’t be prouder.”
Ellis was excited to pitch Friday night. She wanted to win the game for the seniors who missed their graduation.
“It was very stressful and emotional. Especially going into extra innings, but I had faith in my team the whole time. I knew I had to do my best for the seniors that were on the field with us last night,” said Ellis
The girls will travel to Clermont, Florida to play at Legend’s Way Ballfield in the State Semifinal next Thursday, according to MaxPreps.
But before the girls travel to Clermont, Clay High is hosting a special graduation for the four seniors who missed their graduation to play in the Regional Championship. They will have their own graduation ceremony on the Clay High Football field at 7:30 p.m. Sunday night.