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‘Sams’ club’ playing catch-up at season start

Despite field setback, Lady Dragons play like champs against state-ranked Halls

  • Lady Dragons’ pitcher Bree McKamey got her 500 strikeout from the circle during Clin- ton’s matchup against Halls Lady Dragons last Thursday night. - Tony Cox

  • Lynnlee Adkins eyes the pitch during the Lady Dragons’ late week showdown with the Lady Red Devils. Clinton played Halls tough but couldn’t stop the state-ranked Halls in the final inning. - Tony Cox

Clinton High School’s softball team had high hopes for the 2024 season, but things haven’t quite gone as planned for the Lady Dragons.

Most of Clinton’s struggles began in the preseason as the Lady Dragons’ field, which was supposed to be ready in January is still not complete, leaving head coach Leonard Sams and his team a bit frustrated.

“We were behind and it was nobody’s fault. Our new field was supposed to be ready when we came back to school in January and it’s still not ready,” Sams said. “We didn’t have the time to practice and train, and we’re playing like it.

“We’re playing at about 50 percent of what we’re capable of right now, and the girls are frustrated.”

The Lady Dragons’ latest setback was a 4-0 loss to Walker Valley. Clinton outhit the Lady Mustangs, 5-4, but couldn’t push any runs across the plate Monday night.

Lynnlee Adkins and Marissa Eccles each had two hits for Clinton Monday night, while Sara Bishop singled and stole a base.

Lady Dragons’ pitcher Bree McKamey threw a complete game, as she threw six innings and gave up four runs (one earned), four hits and two walks. She struck out five.

Clinton opened last week with a win over Coalfield before falling at Knoxville Halls, 2-1, in eight innings on Wednesday, March 20.

The Lady Dragons took a 1-0 lead in the top of the eighth inning on an RBI single by Tomi Taylor only to see the Lady Devils win by scoring two runs in the bottom of the extra frame.

Despite taking the loss in the circle, McKamey recorded her 500th career strikeout against Halls, which shared the District 4-AAA regular-season title with the Lady Dragons last season before moving to Class 4A.

Over the weekend, the Lady Dragons played in a tournament in the Chattanooga Area. They suffered losses to Rockvale (6-5) and Lawrence County, falling 11-6 and committing six errors.

Their lone win in the tournament was a 6-5 victory over Boyd Buchanan, Clinton rallied from a 5-0 deficit and scored the winning run when Bishop drove in Eccles.