DAVENPORT -- Clinton High baseball coach Kevin Cunningham didn’t try to disguise his feelings after watching Davenport West sweep his team Monday.
As he walked away from the team’s post-game meeting, he offered his assessment before a question was asked.
“The most disappointing two games we’ve had all year,” he said.
Cunningham watched left-handed pitcher Tommy Dorton dominate the River Kings in the opener, a 6-2 West win, then saw his ace battered for five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning of a 10-8 comeback win for the Falcons in the second game. The sweep moved West (13-13, 8-8 Mississippi Athletic Conference) ahead of Clinton (19-12, 7-9) for fifth place in the MAC standings. The River Kings are tied for sixth with North Scott, the team they play on the road Thursday in the final games of conference play.
“In earlier games you can coach around this, but we’ve played 30 games and are making plays we shouldn’t make,” Cunningham said.
“It’s unbelievably frustrating. We just played awful,” Clinton senior center fielder Ryan Driscoll said. “Up 8-5 with our ace on the mound and he gives up five runs the last three innings -- unreal.
“We know we’re better than that team. With substate two weeks away, it’s not a good feeling.”
Driscoll, who led Clinton with five hits on the day, had improved the mood of the team in the fifth inning of the second game when he delivered a two-run single that broke a 5-5 tie. The players felt even better an inning later when catcher Murray Henricks led off with a triple and Alex Caldwell delivered a one-out RBI single to make it 8-5.
With 6-foot-6 freshman left-hander Cole Pennock on the mound, the lead seemed safe. After all, Pennock had pitched 15 2/3 consecutive innings against MAC opponents without allowing a run. He increased that total to 17 as he retired the first four batters he faced Tuesday.