CLAYTON (N.J.) - The top-seeded Clayton softball team needed to defeat fourth-seeded Haddon Township for the second time this reach its goal of a third straight sectional final appearance.
The Lady Clippers completed the job with a 5-1 win over Haddon Township in the South Jersey Group 1 semifinals on Wednesday.
Kutztown bound Allyson Koerner paced the Lady Clippers on offense and in the circle. At the plate, Koerner went 1-for-3 with two runs batted in and threw a complete game from the rubber with 11 strikeouts, four hits allowed, and one run allowed.
"This was just honestly another game for me," Koerner said. "I don't really like to listen to any outside noise or anything of that sort. I just focus on what goes on in between the lines."
Clayton's Allyson Koerner went 1-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs and pitched seven innings allowing only one run, four hits, and striking out 11 in a 5-1 win over Haddon Township in the South Jersey Group 1 semifinals at Clayton High School in Clayton, New Jersey on Wednesday, May 31, 2023. Chris Baker/D2 Sports Network
Alexus Paden and MacKenzy Holler each drove in a run. Paden earned an RBI on a sacrifice fly and Holler raced around the bases for an inside-the-park-home run which buried any Haddon Township momentum.
Clayton coach Joe Moore knew he'd have to season the underclassmen starters early and often with a challenging schedule in order to prepare them for a postseason run.
"With our aspirations this year, us as a coaching staff knew the girls seeing starting time would have to grow up this season and quick," Moore said. "This time around they executed a lot better than our last matchup with Haddon Township which gave our whole lineup the energy needed instead of just the top half having to do everyone's jobs."
This season Koerner has taken the driver's seat in a lethal one-two punch on the mound alongside ace Meadow Lake. Koerner currently leads the team with 158 strikeouts and a 0.80 earned-run average.
"I just let my play do the talking," Koerner said. "If you want to sleep on me, then I'll just keep doing what I do on the field."