By Ben Murphy
They had the Pinconning Spartans down but they couldn’t get the outs they needed to keep them there. The Clare softball team fell to Pinconning 5-2 in Saturday’s district semi-final, ending the Lady Pioneer season.
The Spartans scored a first inning run to take an early 1-0 lead, though in the top of the third Clare tied it back up. Lindsay Winter led off the inning by getting on via a fielding error and then stole second base. From there, Mackenzie Thayer doubled in Winter.
Clare pulled ahead 2-1 after getting another unearned run in the top of the fifth, and held that lead until a disastrous bottom of the sixth.
There, Pinconning quickly tied the game at 2-2 after a Lady Spartan led off the inning with a single and came around to score three batters later with a hit just through the infield.
Then, Mackenzie Maxon jacked a three-run homer over the left field fence, giving Pinconning the cushion it needed for the 5-2 win.
Pinconning pitcher Katlyn Blake retired Clare one-two-three in the top of the seventh to preserve the Spartan win.
Katya Halfmann suffered the loss for the Pioneers.
Clare finishes the season 22-11 overall and shared the Jack Pine Conference title with Meridian with an 11-3 league mark.