Caleigh Clifton

Recap: Clifton climbs 18 spots with game-winning homer

O'Toole tosses third complete game

© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2022 / Credit: Jade Hewitt Media
Eric Rhew
Aug 19, 2022

ROSEMONT, Ill. — No one will remember the outcome of infielder Caleigh Clifton’s first two at-bats during Friday night’s Athletes Unlimited Softball game between Team McCleney and Team Jaquish.

But, they will certainly remember her final at-bat, which resulted in a two-run home run and an eventual 3-2 victory for Team McCleney at Parkway Bank Sports Complex.

Clifton, who earned her first MVP honor of the season, claimed the top award following her game-winning blast and ended the night with a season-high 204 leaderboard points.

Pitcher Danielle O’Toole secured MVP 2 distinction after hurling her league-leading third complete game of the season. O’Toole, who allowed two runs on six hits, finished with 200 leaderboard points, marking her third 200-point effort in her last four appearances.

Outfielder Shannon Rhodes completed the MVP trio for Team McCleney after her game-tying home run in the fourth inning.

Relief pitcher Peyton St. George (1-1) took the loss in the circle for Team Jaquish, allowing two runs on four hits in 2.1 innings. Team captain Sahvanna Jaquish posted a pair of hits in the setback.

HOW IT HAPPENED

After falling behind by a 1-0 margin in the opening frame, Team McCleney used three consecutive runs to claim a 3-1 advantage. Rhodes started the comeback with a solo home run in the fourth inning before Clifton added a two-run shot to left field in the sixth frame.

LEADERBOARD IMPACT

The win propelled O’Toole into fourth place on the leaderboard after her 204 points allowed her to rise six spots. Meanwhile, outfielder Haylie McCleney owns the top spot on the leaderboard (1,186 points) entering the nightcap between Team Mulipola and Team Chidester.

GAME NOTES

  • Each team used a captain’s challenge in the game … Team Jaquish challenged an out call at home plate in the top of the seventh inning and the play was upheld … Meanwhile, Team McCleney challenged an out call on a stolen base attempt in the bottom of the seventh inning and the play was confirmed.

  • Teams are now 6-for-18 in challenges this season through 19 games.

  • Seven of the nine starters for Team McCleney registered a hit, including a two-hit performance from infielder Aubrey Leach.

  • Jaquish extended her lead on the Athletes Unlimited Softball Championship Season career home run list after blasting her 17th career homer in the top of the first inning … The solo shot down the left field line secured the 10 inning win points for Team Jaquish.

  • Rhodes, who moved into a tie for the league lead with five home runs, has hit three of them in her last two outings … She had two home runs in last Sunday’s game against Team McCleney.

  • Clifton became the 22nd different player to hit a home run with her two-run blast in the bottom of the sixth inning … It was also the sixth of her Athletes Unlimited Softball Championship Season career.

  • O’Toole authored her fourth career complete game in Athletes Unlimited Softball Championship Season play, moving into a tie for second place on the all-time list with Haylie Wagner.

  • With six runs in Friday’s game, there have now been 205 runs scored through the first 19 games of the season … Aspiration is committed to planting 10 trees for every run scored this season as part of its “Aspiration Round the Bases” initiative.

GAME MVPS

  • #1 – Caleigh Clifton (Team McCleney, +60)
  • #2 – Danielle O’Toole (Team McCleney, +40)
  • #3 – Shannon Rhodes (Team McCleney, +20)

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