Clinton hosted Union in the nightcap of the Jimmy Raynor Easter Tournament on Tuesday evening. The Horses used timely hitting, capitalized on Union miscues and a fine pitching performance by Zack Parker to turn back the Spartans 6-1.
Union opened up the scoring in the top of the first when lead off batter Chris Murphy got aboard, stole second and advanced to third on fielders choice. Dawson Thornton picked up the RBI on a single to center to give the Spartans the early lead.
Clinton wasted no time answering in their half of the first when Bailey Spell was hit by a pitch and was chased to second by a Zack Parker single to right. Spell scored Clinton’s first run on an errant throw and Jordan Lilliston picked up an RBI, driving in pinch runner Drew Thornton with a bloop single to right field giving Clinton a 2-1 lead after one.
Union squandered opportunities in the top of the second and third innings leaving three base-runners on the pond. The Spartans scattered three hits and a walk in their half of the third but failed to score when they had two runners caught stealing.
The Dark Horses blew the game open in a four run third inning. Charles Jordan drew a lead off walk, stole second and Bailey Spell pounded an RBI double into the gap in left center to give Clinton a two run lead. Zack Parker Advanced Spell to third and Blake Davis singled to send Spell home and push the Horses lead to 4-1. Zack Parker took home on a throwing error that allowed Davis to advance to third and then a 4 to 3 fielders choice by Jordan Lilliston sent Davis home for the fourth Clinton run and a commanding 6-1 lead.
Zack Parker settled in, retiring six Spartans in a row in the fourth and fifth innings to secure the win for Clinton. After the game Clinton head coach, Tracey Thornton praised his sophomore hurler saying, “Zack did a good job for us tonight. Jonathan Wright is still slowed by the hamstring so we needed some innings from Zack tonight and he pitched great for us.” Parker pitched a five inning complete game, scattering 5 hits, two walks and struck out two batters, giving up just one run to get the win for the Dark Horses.
Parker also helped himself at the plate going 1 for 2 with a single and an RBI and scored two runs. Bailey Spell got aboard in all three plate appearances scoring two runs on a double, a walk, hit by pitch and added an RBI. Blake Davis picked up an RBI going 1 for 2 at the plate and scored a run. Charles Jordan got aboard on a walk and scored a run on Jordan Lilliston’s first inning single.
The Spartans were led at the plate by Dawson Thornton’s 1 for 2 performance to drive in Union’s only run. Jordan Blackburn went 2 for 2 with two singles. Ty Travers and Chris Murphy each added a single for the Spartans with Murphy scoring the Spartan’s run.
Union sent two pitchers to the mound with Dawson Thornton going two innings, giving up five runs on two hits and two walks. Warren Gay came in to relieve Thornton in the third, giving up a run on a hit and two walks.
Union head coach Joshua Rackley commented after the game saying, “we hit the ball well both games, just couldn’t get the runs across. Routine plays hurt us on defense, we just committed too may errors. We are getting closer and the boys know it.”
Clinton will host Lakewood at 7 p.m. on Wednesday for the championship of the Jimmy Raynor Easter Tournament.
Reach Mike Carter at [email protected]