Clinton High School’s victory Wednesday proved a point that I’ve long believed is the biggest key to high school baseball — hitting.
It’s nice to have solid pitching, and in the professional ranks, I still believe starting pitching is the best avenue for championships, but in high school baseball, putting a bat on the ball is the most important aspect of the game.
Just take a look at Wednesday’s win against Ankeny. The River Kings racked up 10 hits and tallied six earned runs. The final score of 10-8 was aided by errors by the Hawks, something that is commonplace in high school baseball.
By being able to put the ball in play, Clinton put themselves in the position to get on base. Let’s face it. Baseball is hard. People say parenting is the toughest thing they’ve ever done. Those people obviously haven’t tried to hit a 90-mph fastball, and then turn around and see a nasty curve ball.
It’s the toughest sport to be great because there are so many variables. Misjudging a fly ball, a bad hop or losing focus for a split second can be the difference in an error and routine play.
Major League baseball players are pros for a reason. They don’t make mistakes in the field. High school kids are still learning the game, and even the best high schoolers will make some errors. Even Clinton suffered from the error bug in the sixth inning, but battled back to preserve the win.
Teams can’t make errors if the opposing players strike out. Just ask Clinton hurler Ryan Driscoll who took it upon himself in the seventh inning, striking out three in a row to give Clinton its first state tournament victory since 1970.
And another victory isn’t out of the question when Clinton faces Sioux City East today.