The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

July 6, 2012

Kings finish .500 in MAC

Run in 10th caps sweep against Central

CLINTON — The Clinton River Kings ended conference play with a sweep at home against the Davenport Central Blue Devils on Thursday that gave the team picked to finish in last place a .500 record in the Mississippi Athletic Conference.

Both games had a flare for the dramatic but were at opposite ends of the spectrum. The River Kings had control of the first game from the get go and won 12-2 in five innings, ending it on a walk-off double from Dakota Atkinson. Game 2 was a pitchers dual that went 10 innings and didn’t see either team score until the sixth inning. The River Kings won 3-2 on a throwing error.

The hot and muggy night didn’t affect Clinton’s pitching staff. All three pitchers threw well and had a stellar defense behind them. The defense was a big improvement over the rest of the season, during which the River Kings committed as many as seven errors in a seven-inning game. Thursday was a different story. They committed only one error in each game.

Eighth-grader Cole Pennock was on the mound for the first game and was a different kind of dominant than what River Kings fans have seen all season. Pennock had been a more of a strikeout pitcher, but Thursday he had only one punchout with two walks, getting a lot of ground balls and letting the defense take care of him.

The offense helped Pennock out a great deal in the first inning, as well, spotting him nine runs to work with.

“When you get a lead like that you’re just really comfortable, no pressure at all,” Pennock said.

Even the first out was productive in the nine-run first inning. Atkinson hit a sacrifice fly to score Travis Morehead for the first of his three RBIs on the night. The hit parade continued for Clinton (18-12) as it batted around and put together seven hits.

Pennock continued to mow down the Blue Devils hitters, but he ran into a little trouble in the top of the third when he hit the No. 2 hitter, Ben Betsworth, after a two-out single from leadoff man Ryan Cartee. A Jacob Light single to left-center scored one run, and the second run scored on an errant throw from left trying to get the lead runner on the play. That put the score at 10-2 in favor of Clinton.

Always with a flare for the dramatics, Clinton won by the slaughter rule in the fifth inning on a walk-off hit. Catcher Adam Ebens-berger reached on an error by the first baseman, who couldn’t scoop the throw from short. Cody Collender worked the count until he saw a pitch he liked and sent it to the outfield for a single, making it first and second with one out. Atkinson came to the plate next and ripped a double that easily scored Rodney Witherspoon, who was running for Ebensberger.

The game ended as Collender raced around third and slid in safely just ahead of the throw for the final run in the 12-2 victory.

“Felt pretty good. I was a lot more comfortable at the plate.” Atkinson said about his night at the plate, “I was pretty dialed in on his timing, because all the pitchers pretty much threw the same speed, so next one looked like a pretty good pitch to hit and I just put a pretty good stroke on it.”

The strong pitching and defense continued into Game 2, but the offense did not produce runs. Both teams saw their starters go deep and shut down the respective offenses until late in the game. Cartee had the more interesting night, getting into and then getting out of several jams against the Kings, who stranded a total of 17 runners through 9 2⁄3 innings.

“We left a lot of runners on base, which hurt us, but clutch hits at the end makes up for that.” Matt Stumbaugh said.

Stumbaugh threw six strong innings for the River Kings, giving up only one run while striking out four and walking none. Stumbaugh had a bit of an easier night as he found himself in only one bases-loaded jam, allowing only two runners to reach third base in six innings.

“Defense was behind me, and while I was pitching no errors, so that helps a lot.” Stumbaugh said.

After coach Kevin Cunningham went out to get Stumbaugh, he brought in closer Ryan Driscoll, who surrendered the second run of the inning but kept the Kings in the game and trailing 2-1 going to the bottom of the seventh.

In the bottom half, Matt Judge reached base on a one-out double and was brought in by Morehead’s single, tying the game for Clinton. Ebensberger came up next but was unable to get that last hit they needed for the win, sending the game to extra innings.

Ebensberger got redemption for his popout by getting hit by a pitch to start Clinton in the 10th. Atkinson singled and Driscoll advanced the runners on a comebacker to the mound. Cody Nolan came up next with two outs and ripped a grounder to deep short, forcing a hurried throw that sailed over the head of the first baseman, allowing the winning run to score for the River Kings as they beat Central 3-2.

“We always come back; this team just does not quit. Sounds like a broken record, but we just don’t quit.” Cunningham said.

CLINTON 12, DAVENPORT CENTRAL 2 (5 INNINGS)

Central    002    00            —    2    3    3

Clinton    910    02            —    12    12    1

Ben Betsworth (2⁄3 ip, 4 h, 7 r, 5 er, 2 bb, 0 so), Ben Styvaert (4 1⁄3 ip, 8 h, 5 r, 4 er, 2 bb, 0 so) and David Mampre; Cole Pennock (5 ip, 3 h, 2 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 1 so) and Adam Ebensberger. Multiple hits — Clinton (Ebensberger 2, Cody Collender 3, Dakota Atkinson 2). 2B — Clinton (Ebensberger, Atkinson, Cody Nolan, Matt Judge). RBIs — Central (Jacob Light); Clinton (Ebensberger, Collender 2, Atkinson 3, Ryan Driscoll, Alex Caldwell, Jake Simpson).

CLINTON 3, CENTRAL 2 (10 INNINGS)

Central    000    000    200    0    —    2    9    2

Clinton    000    001    100    1    —    3    9    1

Ryan Cartee (7 ip, 8h, 2 r, 2 er, 10 bb, 5 so), Tyler Broders (2 2⁄3 ip, 1 h, 1 r, 0 er, 1 bb, 3 so) and Mampre; Matt Stumbaugh (6 ip, 6 h, 1 r, 1 er, 0 bb, 4 so), Driscoll (4 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 1 er, 3 bb, 7 so) and Ebensberger. Multiple hits — Central (Cartee 2, Light 2, Mampre 2, Justin Watermann 2); Clinton (Travis Morehead 2, Atkinson 3, Judge 2). 2B — Central (Griffin Corbin, Watermann); Clinton (Atkinson, Judge). RBIs — Central (Light, Watermann); Clinton (Morehead, Atkinson).

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