Back on the mound: Pitcher hopes to lead Lancers to tourney greatness after last year’s injury

Pitcher hopes to lead Lancers to tourney greatness after last year’s injuryEDINBURGH — The softball season didn’t end quite how Edinburgh pitcher Maddi Clark would’ve liked a year ago.

In the third inning of the Lancers’ Class A regional game against Hauser, Clark was injured in a collision at home plate and had to exit, opening the doors for the Jets to roll to a 12-1 win.

Now a junior, Clark is ready to help lead Edinburgh on what she hopes is a deep postseason run. The Lancers are certainly capable — and their ace pitcher is a big reason why.

Clark has again been highly effective in the circle, posting an earned-run average of 1.84 and displaying impeccable control — she has struck out 108 hitters this season while walking just nine.

“I think I’ve gotten a little smarter,” she said. “On plays, where I need to cover, and where to throw balls in certain counts.”

“She’s definitely got a little more confidence,” added her father, Edinburgh coach Stephen Clark. “Playing year-round (with the Indiana Shockwaves travel team) definitely helps that. She’s definitely seasoned in the circle.”

And at the plate. A .290 hitter a year ago, Clark had bumped her batting average all the way up to .483 this spring through May 18, putting yet another potent bat in a dangerous Lancers lineup. Seven different regulars are hitting .370 or above, and sophomore catcher Sidney Beier ranks among the state leaders in several offensive categories.

Edinburgh has grown more confident with each passing week, and as the host and clear favorite in this week’s sectional, the Lancers will likely put themselves in position to get yet another crack at neighbor and nemesis Hauser.

The two teams played a pair of one-run games earlier in the season, with the Jets pulling out both.

“It’s always fun playing them, because I’ve grown up playing Tessa (Sims) and Hailey (Lange),” Maddi Clark said. “We’ve kind of made a little friendship; it’s always really fun to play them. It’d be nice to beat them, though — finally get one on them.

“We’re always so close, and they always find a way to get us.”

Stephen Clark says his team knows better than to look ahead; the Lancer veterans have some experience with losing games to inferior competition, so nobody is looking past the sectional games just yet.

The expectations, though, are certainly higher.

“The confidence level is up pretty high,” Stephen Clark said, and if they keep playing like they should, it should be a pretty good finish to the year.”