MYRTLE BEACH, SC – The Clay County Tigers (5-5) got their feet in the sand this past week, as they traveled to Myrtle Beach for a spring break trip filled with plenty of baseball action. The Tigers dealt with inclement weather on the trip, but came home to Manchester with two wins and one loss. “A very good experience for these guys,” said Tiger Coach Jason Smith. “It’s something we’ll never forget. The team had a wonderful time.
Clay would first defeat George Rogers Clark 11-4 on Monday, April 1stto get their first win at the beach. Snagging a late lead and strong pitching from John Gilbert helped propel Clay to victory, as Gilbert tossed a complete game effort, striking out 11 in the process. “John pitched a really solid game for us,” said Smith. “He kept the ball in the strike zone all day, and didn’t walk a single batter. Outstanding job by him.”
Scoreless through 3 innings, Clay would push across a run in the bottom of the 4thinning as Colby Howard would smack a ground ball to safely bring home John Gilbert with a play at the plate ensuing. That lead would be short lived, as the Cardinals would score three runs of their own in the top of the 5th, forcing Clay to tighten up offensively.
Tighten up they would, as Clay would score two runs in the bottom of the 5thinning, then exploding for eight runs in the 6th. The Tigers would out-hit GRC 13-8 in the contest. The offense was led by Howard with his 3-hit 1 RBI performance. Austin Smith and Chandler Hacker would push across two runs each as well in the victory.
Batting – John Gilbert (2-5) 1 RBI; Chandler Hacker (2-4) 2 RBI; Colnby Howard (3-5) 1RBI; Blake Mills (1-2) 1 RBI; Andrew Saylor (1-2); Thomas Jackson (2-3) 1 RBI; Austin Smith (1-3) 2 RBI; Connor Farmer (1-4) 1 RBI.
Pitching – John Gilbert 7.0 IP, 8 hits, 4 runs, 3 ER, 8 K’s.
The Tigers would defeat the Knott Central Patriots 6-4 on Wednesday, April 3rdto move to 5-4 on the season. Thomas Jackson led the way offensively for Clay going 2-3 at the plate, reeling home 3 RBI’s. Colby Howard would contribute 2 RBI’s on 2 hits, while John Gilbert added 2 hits of his own. Ben Buttery tossed 5 innings to get the win for Clay, while Blake Mills pitched 2 innings for the save.
Clay would fall behind 0-1 in the top of the 2ndinning to Knott as a fielder’s choice would bring home a Patriot run. The Tigers would respond quickly, a Thomas Jackson double would bring home Cameron Farmer to tie things at 1-1. Clay would go on to score two more runs in the bottom of the 3rdinning, as Chandler Hacker and Colby Howard would put the ball in play to push across both runs.
Knott would regain the lead in the top of the 5th, only to be thwarted by yet another Clay response the ensuing at bat. Clay would match Knott’s 3-run 5thinning with 3 runs of their own, to finally put an end to the back-and-forth affair.
Batting – John Gilbert (2-4); Colby Howard (2-3) 2 RBI; Chandler Hacker 1 RBI; Cameron Farmer (1-2); Thomas Jackson (2-2) 3 RBI;
Pitching – Ben Buttery (W) 5.0 IP, 4 runs, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K’s; Blake Mills – (S) 2 hits, 5 K’s.
The two-game win streak came to an end at the hands of a 10-0 loss to the Johnson Central Golden Eagles on Thursday, April 4th. Clay was held to one hit (John Gilbert) in the contest, while Johnson sprayed the field with 12 hits. Colby Howard took the loss on the mound for the Tigers, and was relieved by Blake Mills, John Hubbard, and Dalen Couch.
Johnson Central would score two runs in the 4thinning, and four runs in both the 5th/6thinnings. Clay was simply shocked and awed in this contest. However, Clay did not commit any errors in the field, a positive takeaway.
Batting – John Gilbert (1-2). Pitching – Colby Howard (L) 5.0 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 2 ER, 2 BB; Blake Mills 2.0 IP, 4 hits, 4 runs, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K’s; John Hubbard 0.1 IP, 1 hit, 4 runs, 4 ER, 2 BB; Dalen Couch 2 hits.