CLINTON — The first half of the Clinton River Kings baseball season is as confounding as its 7-0 loss against Iowa City West on Saturday.
West senior pitcher Tyus Adkins held the River Kings (7-12) to one hit in the matinee loss, and it was Jordan Chapman who got the hit.
Chapman led off the second inning with a single to right field, but the River Kings were retired in succession on a flyout, a line drive right to the shortstop, and a groundout.
“We’re too good to be at where we’re at right now,” Clinton coach Kevin Cunningham said. “We’re still pressing too much; we just need to relax.”
Cunningham was still frustrated with the amount of fly balls Adkins forced the River Kings into.
“90 percent of the time, a fly ball is an out,” Cunningham noted. “We’re still dropping our shoulders, still forcing to do too much at the plate.
“The guys just need to let the game come to them,” Cunningham added.
Adkins forced Clinton to fly out in nine of his 21 outs. The Trojan hurler walked one River King (Austin Driscoll to lead off the third), and struck out four hitters.
Meanwhile, Clinton needed three pitchers for its seven innings.
Nick Houzenga threw the first 4 1/3 innings — allowing three hits on four hits while having four walks, three wild pitches and one strikeout.
Houzenga and reliver Alex Dodd found trouble in the fifth inning when the Trojans posted five runs on the board.
The inning started with second baseman Nick Gallagher getting hit by a pitch on a full count, then the Trojans tallied a pair of doubles and two walks to get its five runs.
Houzenga threw 83 pitches with 46 strikes while Dodd had 11 strikes out of his 25-pitch performance.
Michael Clark threw the final two innings, and allowed an unearned run in the seventh inning. Clark needed 33 pitches.