Lions pick up four wins

by Marianne Gasaway

The Clear Lake baseball team provided plenty of fireworks during a busy holiday week of action.  The Lions posted four wins to move their record to 13-11 overall and 8-3 in the North Central Conference.

CL 7, Algona 6

The Lions defeated Algona, 7-6, on Monday, July 1, thanks to a walk-off single.

The game was tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the seventh inning when Erik McHenry singled on a 3-2 count to score Andrew Formanek and win the game.  Formanek had started the inning reaching base on a walk and advanced to second on a ground out by Mitchell Raber.  He took third on a line drive single to center field by Caden Jones.

The Lions started quick, with two runs in the first inning, thanks largely to shaky pitching from the Bulldog staff.  McHenry and Austin Warnke both walked to lead off the inning, then took second and third on a single from Chase Stuver.  McHenry scored on a passed ball and Warnke came home on a wild pitch for a 2-0 Lions lead.

Algona responded to the challenge with a pair of runs in the second and three more in the third for a 5-2 lead.  Formanek was on the mound first and was charged with Algona’s first two runs.  The first scored on a wild pitch, while the second came in on a bases loaded walk.

Mac Adams came in to relieve in the third with one out and a runner on second.  Algona took the lead on a single, pushed it to 4-2 on a wild pitch and finished the inning ahead 5-2 after a sacrifice fly. They added a sixth run in the top of the fourth.

The Lions began their comeback in the bottom of the fourth, again helped by walks.  Formanek and Raber both walked, setting the stage for Adams to hit a line drive to load the bases.  Two more walks scored Formanek and Raber and a fielder’s choice by Warnke brought Brecken Arndt to pull the Lions within one, 6-5.  Clear Lake tied the score in the bottom of the sixth when PJ Feuerbach singled to score Warnke, who reached base with a two-out single.

Adams earned the victory on the hill. He went five and one-third innings, allowing four runs on five hits and striking out three.  Formanek surrendered two runs on two hits over one and two-thirds innings, striking out two.

Jones led the Lions with two hits in two trips to the plate.  McHenry was credited with a team-high two RBIs.

“I was curious to see how they would respond after a disappointing loss on Friday (June 28), and I thought they showed a lot of character by battling back for an important conference win after getting behind 6-2,” said Clear Lake Coach Seth Thompson.  “Mac did a nice job of battling through some tough spots, and our offense did a nice job of coming through with some key hits in the late innings, including a walk-off hit by Erik McHenry.  Caden Jones has been a big lift for us over the last week, and tonight he was a big reason why we ended up with the win.”

CL 16, Washington 7 (9)

Clear Lake stole the lead late and defeated Washington 16-7 on Tuesday.  The game was tied at 6-6 with the Lions batting in the top of the ninth when Mac Adams doubled on a 2-2 count, scoring one run.  That was followed by a fielder’s choice from Caden Jones, single from Erik McHenry, fielder’s choice by Austin Warnke and a double from Chase Stuver which scored two and put the score at 12-6.  AJ Stevenson and Eric Ritter both got on base with the help of errors and with no one out, Andrew Formanek walked to load the bases.  Singles by Andrew Crane and Jones scored runs and gave the Lions a 15-6 lead.  The margin grew to 10 when McHenry hit a ground ball to score Clear Lake’s final run.

“I was very proud of how our kids performed on the field and the support and energy they gave each other from the bench in both the JV and Varsity games,” said Coach Seth Thompson.  “After a longer than normal bus trip, they came out with a ton of energy and had a lot of fun playing ball all night, and managed to extend their fun by playing two extra innings.”

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