CLINTON — Scoring first has been an issue for the Clinton River Kings all season. It’s no wonder that Austin Driscoll believes the key for the Kings to make another deep run in the baseball postseason revolves around a positive start.
“I believe the key to getting us going is just starting off the game right,” Driscoll, a junior outfielder for the Kings, said. “Whether it’s getting the first out of the game or getting the first run of the game, it gets us going right away, and we feed off that.”
The numbers back up Driscoll’s thoughts. Clinton is 7-5 when it scores first, 5-14-1 when its opponent puts the first run on the scoreboard.
Clinton couldn’t have gotten off to a much worse start than it did Thursday evening in the first game of a Mississippi Athletic Conference doubleheader against North Scott at the Durgin Sports Complex. The first two Lancers reached on errors and North Scott scored five unearned runs in the top of the first inning en route to a 9-3 win in the opening game. Even though Clinton had to fight back in the second game, it scored multiple runs in each of the first three innings on the way to a 10-5 win that gave it a split.
“We knew after the first game that we didn’t battle back as well as we should have,” Driscoll said of the six-run loss in which six of North Scott’s runs were unearned. That changed in the second game. The teams traded leads early — the Lancers scored a run in the top of the first and Clinton came back with two in the bottom half before a four-run second put North Scott ahead 5-2. But, that was all Clinton allowed, and its offense more than made up the deficit.