CLINTON – The Clinton High School baseball team played its only scheduled games of the week Monday, welcoming in defending Mississippi Athletic Conference champion North Scott at the Durgin Complex.
Game one (6 innings): North Scott 13, Clinton 2
Despite entering the week with an underwhelming record, North Scott is still North Scott. Translation: A clean game is still necessary to contend with the defending conference champions.
Clinton endured nothing short of a defensive breakdown, committing six errors in to guide the Lancers to a 13-2 victory (6 innings) in the first of two games at the Durgin Complex.
The River Kings’ defense made back-to-back errors to open the game, as Austin Schneider reached on a botched infield pop-up and Layne Hamman benefitted from a wild throw – both of which came around to score during North Scott’s four-run first inning.
North Scott’s Jake Matthaidess, who entered the contest without an earned run through 12 innings, had much more support than he ultimately needed. The junior southpaw cruised through a complete-game outing, allowing just two runs and fanning nine batters.
North Scott added three more runs off starter Zach Hoffman in the third during a rally that was once again assisted by an error, as shortstop Max Holy dropped a ball in shallow center field with two outs and the bases loaded, allowing two runs to score on the play. Layne Hamman added another with a hit in the next plate appearance.
The River Kings broke their scoreless drought in the third inning, as Frederick Williams came around to score on Holy’s hard-hit single after leading off the inning with a walk.
That was all Clinton could muster, though, as the team only mustered three hits through the first five innings, as Joe Simpson, Holy and Riley Hill each had singles during that span. The River Kings matched their hit total and run total in the final inning, using three hits to score a run. Dante Brunson had a double and scored on Sean Hammond’s RBI infield hit.
Hoffman was removed after 4 2/3 innings. He was charged with 10 runs, although a whopping seven runs were tagged as unearned.
Game two: North Scott 6, Clinton 4
In the nightcap, Clinton battled through the first four innings before North Scott rallied in the fifth en route to a 6-4 victory to complete the two-game sweep.
“I thought we came out with renewed energy after the first game,” Cunningham said. “I think our pitching and defense did a nice job.”
Leading 2-1, the Lancers paired two walks with two hits and a couple of wild pitches to plate three pivotal runs off Bret Myli, who could not complete the inning after allowing just one run through the first four frames.
Clinton struck first in the opening inning on Brunson’s second double of the night to score Holy. But the Lancers countered immediately with two of their own runs in their next plate appearance to stake a 2-1 lead.
North Scott’s Graysen Drezek settled in after the first, allowing only one hit through the next three innings while Myli matched the right-hander with scoreless third and fourth innings, the latter assisted by a nifty double-play grounder to end the top of the fourth.
Simpson and Holy teamed up in the fifth to push across another run. Simpson led off the inning with an infield single, stole second and scored on Holy’s single to left.
The River Kings threatened in the sixth inning as Ethan Wilkins and Malachi Mojeiko both walked to open the inning, chasing Drezek after 109 pitches. Frederick Williams cashed in with a clutch two-out single off 6-foot-6, 250-pound Jackson Stoefen to plate two runners and cut the deficit to 5-4.
Drezek is regarded as one of the best arms in the junior class across the state, and there were college coaches in attendance Monday night to check out the hard-throwing right-hander.
“I think he is one of the better pitchers in the state,” Cunningham said. “We competed well against him… a hit here or there or a play here or there and we win the game.”
Simpson, who entered Monday tied for the conference lead in batting average at a red-hot .500 clip, had a chance to tie the game later in the inning but struck out with runners on first and second to end the threat.
Jess Hartsock was strong in relief of Myli, as he kept the River Kings within reach against a lineup that had proved its potency over the span of the evening
North Scott added an insurance run in the seventh on Keaton Murphy’s sac fly to bring in Griffin Wilder, who clubbed a one-out double down the left field line.
The River Kings (2-11) have the rest of the week off before hosting Burlington Monday.
CAMANCHE SWEEPS ANAMOSA
ANAMOSA – The Camanche baseball team used rallies in its first and last at-bats of a Monday night matchup to beat Anamosa 9-4 in the second game to complete a two-game sweep.
The Indians scored five runs in the first, which Anamosa answered with three of its own in the home half of the inning. Mason Byrns brought in two runs with a double to help spark Camanche’s opening rally.
Zach Erwin pitched six innings for the Indians, allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits.
Camanche plated a couple of runs on wild pitches in the seventh and benefitted from errors and hit batters to score four runs on one hit.
The Indians (8-4) host Mid-Prairie Thursday.
QUEENS SWEPT BY RANKED LANCERS
CLINTON - A No. 7 North Scott softball team was too much for the Clinton River Queens to handle on Monday night and they fell in both games of a Mississippi Athletic Conference doubleheader.
The Lancers won the first 11-3 and the second 10-1.
“Our attitude and effort was there,” head coach Nate Herrig said. “We have girls getting dirty, outfield making diving plays, all of that is there. We just didn’t piece it all together.”
The River Queens, who have just two wins this season, stayed with the ranked Lancers for the first part of the game. Even though they allowed four runs in the first, they came back and scored their own in their half of the first.
Casey Mandrell started things with a one-out single, followed by Lauren Brennen drawing a walk. Madison Meggenberg and Macy Mulholland both followed them up with singles to cut the Lancer lead to 4-2.
Their last run was scored in the fifth, while the Lancers ran up the score. The River Queens allowed four runs to score in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
They still played a tight defensive game behind pitcher Natalie Dornbush and were just looking to bring in some more runs.
“After Game 1, we showed some glimpses of doing some good things,” Herrig said. “We stopped the bleeding in some of those big innings and that makes a huge difference. Come Game 2, we didn’t do a lot of things we’ve been doing.”
With Amber Lee in the circle, they started things out well again. With one walk in the first inning, they got three outs quickly with no runs scoring.
They started things out with Natalie Dornbush making it to the bag. Meggenberg singled after that to leave two on, but they would be left stranded.
That seemed to be the story of the night for the River Queens, who left six on base throughout the night.
“We have to try a little better on our part of answering back a little bit,” Herrig said. “We can give up one, give up two, but we have to be able to get those back.”
Once again, the Lancers started making their moves. With two North Scott runners on base in the top of the second, Amber Lee got a strikeout to notch the second out. They almost got out of the inning with a nice stop at third base, but then throwing errors ensued. Three runs scored in the next two at-bats to leave the Queens trailing 3-0.
Down 5-0 in the sixth inning, a Lancer made it to first. On an attempt to steal second, another defensive error moved her not only to third, but all the way home. They ended the sixth trailing 9-0 before the last run scored in the seventh.
“We started booting the ball, throwing the ball all over the place,” Herrig said. “The things we’ve tried to correct all of a sudden reared their ugly head again.”
The River Queens have won two of their last five games, an improvement after starting the year on an eight game losing streak. Herrig mentioned after their softball invitational this weekend that he’s starting to see his team perform to their potential, it’s just coming in spurts instead of staying consistent.
“I told them, we showed at time that we have the ability to play with teams like that,” Herrig said. “We have to believe we can do that every inning of every game and we’ll be alright.”
Clinton (2-12) head to Dubuque Senior (5-10) on Wednesday night for a single varsity contest.
CAMANCHE SOFTBALL SPLITS
ANAMOSA - The Camanche Indians won one and lost one on the road Monday night, beating No. 12 Anamosa 5-4 and losing to the River Valley Conference opponent 0-4 for their first loss of the year.
In the first game, the Indians fell behind early with Anamosa scoring three in the first inning. The top of the order did the job in the third inning, cutting the lead to 3-2. Tarah Wehde came out with a leadoff homer to score one. Then a trio of singles from Abby Stock, Madi Parson and Abby Beal brought in the second run.
The Indians saw the Blue Raiders score another run in the third but still had more to give. They scored their final three runs to take their first lead in the sixth inning.
They were able to pick up seven hits in the second game, even putting five runners in scoring position, but weren’t able to push any home.
Camanche (18-1) now turns their focus to a non-conference doubleheader at home on Wednesday against Davenport Central (0-4).