Clear Lake held off Garner-Hayfield-Ventura, 8-7, in a non-conference baseball game played Thursday. The game was characterized as “fun” by both coaches, who saw their squads give it their all.
“This turned out to be a really fun game, and it was great to see how this team would respond in their first tight contest in the last few innings,” said Clear Lake Coach Seth Thompson. “We had a number of hard hit balls that didn’t drop on the night, but still managed to get enough runs for the win and finish the week on a three-game winning streak.”
The game started off with plenty of offense, as each team scored four times in the first inning. GHV lead-off hitter Jack Ermer and Jared Shaw walked and advanced on ground balls. Ermer scored on an outfield error and Shaw was brought home on a sacrifice fly from Brody Boehnke. Dalton Graff, who reached on an error, made the score 3-0 when Sam Childress singled. Childress scored on a line drive hit from Rafe VanDusseldorp.
There were also some jitters for the Cardinals in the first inning, as Erik McHenry led off with a walk. He advanced to second on a passed ball thrown to Austin Warnke, who ultimately walked. Chase Stuver was hit by a pitch to load the bases for the Lions. A.J. Stevenson stepped to the plate a delivered a single, scoring McHenry. A walk scored Warnke and a hard-hit ground ball from Eric Ritter brought in Stuver. Stevenson came in to tie the score on a fielder’s choice from Andrew Formanek.
The Lions moved ahead by a run in the third, helped by another GHV error. Connor O’Tool reached on an error and scored on a fielder’s choice. They added three more runs in the fourth when Stuver smashed a home run, bringing in McHenry, who had walked, and Warnke, who reached base on a single.
The Cards began to rally in the fifth, helped by a walk issued to Dalton Graff by starting pitcher Eric Ritter. Boehnke followed with a single and both players scored on a double from VanDusseldorp. Stevenson took the mound in relief and couldn’t settle in soon enough. He walked in a run, making the score 8-7, before shutting the Cards down.
Ritter earned the win for Clear Lake. He allowed seven hits and seven runs over four and two-thirds innings, striking out eight. Stevenson and Stuver entered the game out of the bullpen and helped to close out the game in relief. Stevenson recorded the last four outs to earn the save.
“I thought Eric pitched really well after his first inning, and AJ and Chase both did a great job of finishing things off, with Chase striking out the side in the seventh inning for his first save of his career,” said Coach Thompson.
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