CLINTON — As many Clinton River Kings sat in the dugout as the game ended 5-1 in a nine-inning loss to Marion Linn-Mar, frustration and disappointment swept across their faces.
“Offense, without question, is the biggest disappointment,” Clinton coach Kevin Cunningham said afterward. “I think we called for four bunts, and we didn’t get one down. I think we’re running against the theory of failing high expectations.”
Albeit the tough loss, Cunningham is pleased with the defensive effort.
“That was outstanding defense tonight,” the River Kings coach said. “Can’t say enough about defense and pitching.”
Clinton managed to scrape together three hits in the loss to the Lions, while the Lions got to a tired River Kings pitching staff in extra innings.
Doug Kennedy, Austin Peters and Jake Faur shared the responsibilities of pitching the final two innings in a week where Clinton has played three games and are geared for a doubleheader today against Bettendorf.
Alex Dodd carried the River Kings in the game’s first seven innings.
Manny Jeffery led off the ninth for Linn-Mar with a single. The Lions scraped one more hit as Linn-Mar hit around the batting order. What hurt the River Kings most were passed balls.
Peters had trouble finding the strike zone, as he recorded one out and allowed three runs before Faur came in to strike out Jeffery to end the inning. Kennedy also inherited an earned run in the ninth as well.
“I may have used him a little too much recently,” Cunningham said of Peters. “We’ll give him the chance to heal up, but he battled out there.”
Caleb Reimer had the go-ahead hit.
“It was a good high school baseball game for this early in the season,” Lions coach Chad Lechner said. “I thought both starting pitchers threw strikes efficiently. Fortunately, we were able to put pressure in the ninth inning.”