Clearview Clippers' Sarah Kaya is dominating the circle

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Clearview’s Sarah Kaya delivers a pitch against Lutheran West on Wednesday. She struck out 13 batters in the 10-0 win.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Clearview’s Sarah Kaya delivers a pitch against Lutheran West on Wednesday. She struck out 13 batters in the 10-0 win.

One by one Lutheran West hitters walked backed to the dugout empty handed.

They had just been victim to one of Sarah Kaya’s fastballs.

On a chilly and windy Wednesday afternoon, the junior from Clearview showed her dominance from the circle by throwing a six-inning no-hitter in a 10-0 rout.

Just how good was Kaya? Well, consider this.

Besides the fact she didn’t allow a hit, Kaya struck out 13 and induced 20 swing-and-misses. She struck out the side in both the first and second innings, where the only contact Lutheran West was getting was foul balls sent back to the fence behind home plate.

Don’t worry Longhorns, you’re not alone. This was just another routine outing for Kaya, who has been nothing short of amazing this season.

In Clearview’s first seven games of the season - in which the team went 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Patriot Athletic Conference - Kaya tallied 98 strikeouts. If you’re doing the math, that’s an average of 14 punch outs a game - not to mention a lot of lonely walks back to the dugout for opposing hitters.

Earlier this week she struck out 18 in a 1-0 loss to Brooklyn. That’s not even the most she’s had in a game. Last season Kaya fanned 20 in a single game.

But for as many strikeouts she’s racked up in her career, Kaya isn’t aware of just how many she actually gets during a game.

“No, not at all,” she said. “I just know they’re outs and let’s go hit.”

And hit is something Kaya does just as well as pitch, too.

Prior to Wednesday’s game against Lutheran West, Kaya boasted a .389 average at the plate with an on-base-percentage of .421. Opposing hitters only wish they had half those numbers when facing Kaya, who also wears a face mask in the circle.

As if her pitches alone weren’t already intimidating enough.

Kaya said she likes having the face mask and can’t imagine not having it. Hey, if the mask fits.

During warm ups Kaya doesn’t wear the mask, but once the game starts she’s all business.

“My head is pretty clear,” Kaya said in regards to when she takes to the circle. “A lot of people comment on my expression because it’s pretty blank, but I just focus, focus, focus on whatever is next.”

And she’s been focused since the very beginning.

In the season-opener Kaya threw a one-hitter, striking out 14 in a 2-1 win over Berea. Three games later she threw another one-hitter while striking out 16 Cardinals in an 8-0 win over Brookside.

The person with the best view for all of Kaya’s strikeouts? Her coach, Denny Myers.

Myers takes a seat behind the fence just outside Clearview’s dugout, relaying signs to his star pitcher.

“It’s fun,” Myers said. “It’s fun to be able to call her different pitches and know she’s going to hit her spots.”

And Myers knows his offense doesn’t have to score many runs the way Kaya pitches. Kaya entered the Lutheran West game with an ERA of 0.18, giving up just one earned run on 14 hits.

“Each year she just keeps improving,” Myers said. “She’s more of a leader this year, a little bit more vocal because she is a junior. I wouldn’t trade her for any pitcher around, she’s just very solid and an excellent player.”

An excellent student, too.

Kaya performs just as well in the classroom as she does on the field, as evident by her 3.945 GPA. She makes balancing the two look a lot easier than it seems.

“It gets a little tough sometimes when you get a lot of tests in one week, but I stay organized and plan, ‘Ok, I’m going to get home at this time, I’m going to eat, shower then just study for a couple hours, then repeat day and day.’”

After school lets out Kaya exchanges her books and pencils for a glove and ball – with which she’s proven since her freshman year she’s just as lethal with both in her hand.

Kaya said goals for this season are to win conference and make a deep postseason run.

Hey, the Clippers are off to a great start.

On Tuesday they knocked off Dagmar Smith and Black River 1-0. Smith, like Kaya, is among the top pitchers in the PAC, not to mention the area.

“That was pretty big for us, I think that was the first time we beat Black River in my high school career anyways.” Kaya said. “I know (Smith’s) a really good pitcher and hits are tough against her.”

The same can be said about Kaya, who is already in mid-season form.

She doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon, either.



@PaulBarney18

Last Updated: 4/19/2013 4:23:28 PM EST

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