New Albany High School softball player Krystal Clark has a new spot in the batting order, but her goals haven't changed since she was moved from fifth to third in the lineup.

New Albany High School softball player Krystal Clark has a new spot in the batting order, but her goals haven't changed since she was moved from fifth to third in the lineup.

"I'm up there to drive in runs," she said.

The junior pitcher is getting more opportunities to do that now that coach Patrick Finn has shuffled the top half of the lineup. Lindsey Medich, who was hitting .364 through 10 games, has returned to the leadoff spot while Sarah Litterest, who led the team with seven stolen bases, is hitting second.

"We had to throw away what we were doing because it obviously wasn't working," Finn said. "Krystal's (offensive) numbers are so good, but they weren't helping us all that much batting fifth.

"Hitting third is unusual for her, but the ball looks huge for her right now. She's been our most consistent hitter all year, so we needed to put her in a spot where the team can benefit the most."

Clark, who said she has hit fifth at almost every level of her career, was batting .419 with an on-base percentage of .561 and slugging percentage of .903 through 10 games. She had two doubles, two triples and three home runs among her 13 hits in 31 at-bats. She had 14 RBI, which was nearly three times the number of New Albany's second-best total, and also walked nine times.

"I'm getting walked too much," Clark said. "I'm up there to hit the ball and put it in play."

Clark had scored only three runs, but that too could change if the hitters behind her begin to come around. Jenna Greenberg is batting fourth while Tiffany Goodrich has been dropped to fifth. Greenberg was second on the team with five RBI and first with eight runs after 10 games, which points to the strength of the second half of the batting order.

Karly Medich was batting .280, and Abby Skowron was hitting .364 with four runs in 11 at-bats.

"Tiffany's not hitting quite like she has in the past," Finn said of Goodrich, who had 35 RBI over the previous two seasons and is a four-year starter at catcher. "Even the Big Walnut coach (Jeff Hatfield) told me when we played them, 'I know I'm playing with fire with her. You know she's going to break out of that slump at some point.'

"I know that's going to happen, too. She's too good of a hitter to stay down for long. With the production we're getting late in the order, I'm starting to see where we can be (offensively) in the next couple of weeks."

Slump or not, Goodrich is proving to be a calming influence on Clark as she continues to adjust to the new pitching distance and the more offensive nature of the game that seemingly has come with it. Finn said that in two of Clark's recent starts - a 3-2 loss to Mount Vernon on April 18 and an 11-0 victory over Franklin Heights on April 22 - the number of hits she allowed was down while her strikeout total was up.

"I think some of the pressure is off us now. I told the girls that the OCC (Capital Division title) may be out, but that we need to stay the course," Finn said. "The pitching (distance) change (moving the rubber from 40 to 43 feet) has had quite an effect on the game. I told the girls that the teams that make the quickest adjustments are the ones that are going to benefit the most, and I think we're getting there."