“We played fantastic up at Fort Dodge on Friday and Saturday, and I think we came in today flat; the defense was flat,” Clinton coach Kevin Cunningham said. “You can’t make (five) errors in the first game against a good team and expect to win.”
The mental mistakes didn’t stop in Game 2, either, as the defense committed two more errors. Meanwhile, the baserunning early in the game left much to be desired.
In the bottom of the third, River Kings right fielder Evan Jackson was caught in a rundown after getting picked off at second base, but he got a bit of luck on defensive interference that gave him third base. His luck ran out two pitches later when he misjudged a ball in the dirt and tried to take home.
The ball bounced in front of the plate and PV pitcher Tony Clifton flipped it to his catcher, Mike Brown, in plenty of time to get Jackson. Jackson tried to run over Brown, who tagged him out, and the home plate umpire immediately threw Jackson out of the game.
All was not lost for Clinton in the third as Dustin Caldwell drove in his brother Alex on a single, giving the River Kings the 1-0 lead, their only score of the day. The lead for Clinton did not last as PV struck back in the top of the fifth.
Clinton left-handed starter Cole Pennock was cruising through the first 4 2/3 innings, wracking up nine strikeouts before a walk and single from PV’s top of the order, Collin Banks and Brown, put two runners on in scoring position. No. 3 hitter Tanner Ennis waited back on a curve from Pennock and laced it up the middle, driving in both runs and giving PV the 2-1 lead.
“I felt good; I was on my game tonight,” Pennock, a freshman, said of his performance on the mound. “We just have to get out and hit the ball. I was trying my best to shut them down so that we could get through that, but in the end pitching wins games.”