MARION - If Friday’s game is an indicator, the postseason tournament could be an exciting one for the Clinton High baseball team.

The River Kings’ offense erupted for 18 hits en route to a 15-10 victory over Linn-Mar in a Class 4A substate opener.

Every River King starter had at least one hit and one RBI in the offensive barrage.

The same teams played just a few weeks ago, with Clinton emerging a 16-13 winner.

“I’m very happy how we hit the ball,” said Clinton coach Trent Snowden. “I didn’t know if we could score that many runs. We certainly took advantage of our opportunities offensively.

“The defense was good, too,” he added. “But if we’re going to advance, we have to throw more strikes. We walked a lot of guys tonight and hit a few. We can’t count on scoring 15 runs every time out.”

“The first time we played them I wasn’t here, but we got off to a good start again,” said Curtis Howard. “Offensively we’re doing really well, but pitching-wise we have to throw more strikes. It’s just good to get the first one out of the way.”

Clinton, 22-10, will meet North Scott Monday in Eldridge. The Lancers defeated Dubuque Hempstead 18-7 Friday.

The River Kings swept North Scott 13-4 and 20-6 in their Mississippi Athletic Conference doubleheader June 14.

Linn-Mar finished 14-25.

Clinton threatened in the top of the first by putting runners on the corners, but couldn’t score.

Linn-Mar opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when Jarad Bell walked, stole second, moved to third on a bloop single to short left by Ryan Cox and crossed the plate as the River Kings turned a 6-4-3 double play.

Clinton got things going in the second. Drew Matzen led off with a triple to deep center field and scored on Shawn Winoski’s infield single to the left side.

Howard moved the runner over on a sacrifice bunt before Scott DeAngelis delivered an RBI single up the middle to make it 2-1.

Jake Mangler followed with a single up the middle and Ryan Clausen hit a deep double that glanced off the glove of the back-tracking center fielder, scoring both runners to make it 4-1.

Linn-Mar got a run back in the bottom of the second when Zach Larson led off with a solo homer to left.

Clinton answered in the top of the third as Matzen walked, reached second on an error and came across on Howard’s RBI single down the left-field line.

Linn-Mar closed within 5-4 in the third. Cox grounded a single up the middle and scored on Ben Strellner’s double to left-center.

Chad Meier later hit an RBI single.

Clinton went wild in the fourth inning, scoring seven runs while sending 11 batters to the plate.

Mangler led off with a double to the left-field fence and Clausen reached on an infield single. Mangler went to third when the first baseman dropped the ball during the attempt to get Clausen out.

Ryan Hovey then lined an RBI single to right and Jordan Camp managed to reach base on a sacrifice bunt attempt.

David Lakin knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly to center and Winoski hit an RBI single up the middle, making it 8-4.

Howard later had an RBI single to left in which the catcher had Camp tagged out at the plate, but dropped the ball.

DeAngelis followed with a two-run triple over the center fielder’s head and Mangler hit a hard RBI single past third base for a 12-4 lead.

Linn-Mar’s Tim Keleher and Mitch Mahmens led off the bottom of the frame with walks and Bell singled before a walk by Cox brought a run across the plate.

Howard then relieved Hovey on the mound. He got the next batter to ground out and the next to hit into a double play to help the River Kings escape damage.

Clinton tallied once in the fifth as Hovey singled up the middle, moved to second on Camp’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Matzen’s RBI single up the middle, making it 13-5.

The River Kings made it 15-5 in the top of the sixth. Howard walked and DeAngelis sacrificed courtesy runner Evan Voss to second.

After Clausen walked, Hovey hit an RBI single up the middle and Camp followed with a run-scoring single to left.

Linn-Mar made a charge in the bottom of the sixth, scoring five runs while sending 10 men to the plate.

Meier had a two-run single, while Sam Tracy and Keleher had one-run singles. Another run scored on an error.

Linn-Mar loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but Hovey - who returned to the mound in the sixth inning - got the last two outs to end the contest.

The game was Clinton’s first action in a while. The River Kings got halfway through a game with Davenport West Monday before action was halted by rain, and then had their regular-season finale with Maquoketa rained out Tuesday.

“I was a little concerned not playing much lately, but the practices have been good,” said Snowden.

Game note … Mahmens, a former Clinton student, played youth baseball with many of this season’s River Kings. His father, Scott, is the former Clinton High activities director and now is athletic director at Linn-Mar.

Score by Innings

Clinton 041 712 0 — 15 18 1

Linn-Mar 112 105 0 — 10 13 3

Ryan Hovey, Curtis Howard (4), Hovey (6) and Shawn Winoski. Ben Strellner, Mitch Mahmens (5) and Sam Tracy.

Two or more hits-Clinton, Scott DeAngelis, Jake Mangler 3, Ryan Clausen, Hovey 3, Drew Matzen, Winoski, Howard; Linn-Mar, Ryan Cox, Zach Larson, Chad Meier 3, Tim Keleher 3. 2B-Clinton, Mangler, Clausen, Howard; Linn-Mar, Strellner, Meier. 3B-Clinton, DeAngelis, Matzen. HR-Linn-Mar, Larson. RBI-Clinton, DeAngelis 3, Mangler, Clausen 2, Hovey 2, Jordan Camp, Matzen, David Lakin, Winoski 2, Howard 2; Linn-Mar, Cox, Strellner, Larson, Meier 3, Tracy, Keleher.

Records-Clinton 22-10, Linn-Mar 14-25. Next game-Clinton vs. North Scott at Eldridge, 7 p.m. Monday.

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