Lions stumble against tough competition

The usually powerful Clear Lake offense sputtered a bit in the past week, resulting in three losses which hurt the Lions in their quest for a North Central Conference championship.  The Lions, ranked number five in Class 3A heading into the week, were upset by Algona, then dropped a doubleheader to St. Ed’s

(No. 4 in 2A) to slip to second in the NCC.  At the holiday break, the Lions were 23-8 overall and were 13-3 in the league.  Clear Lake was slated to travel to Iowa Falls-Alden Tuesday.

CL 10, H-D 2
    The Lions recorded their 17th straight win with a 10-2 victory over Hampton-Dumont Monday, June 27.  The win kept Clear Lake perfect at 12-0 in the NCC.
    “It was great to see these kids come out and put a five on the scoreboard in the first inning and put Hampton on their heels a little,” said Coach Seth Thompson.
    After the five run start, the Lions scored at least one run in every inning to put the game out of reach.  The team was led by Ozzie Adams, who had doubles in his first three trips to the plate and finished 4-for-4. Zac Bendickson had two hits in his three trips to the plate, one was a double.  In all, the Lions had 12 hits in the game with five of them being doubles.  Gavin Sheakley also ripped a home run in the fourth inning.  Eight of the nine Lion batters had hits in the game.  The three batters each had two RBI in the game.
    Adams and Bendickson also were strong on the mound for the Lions and kept the Bulldogs off the base paths.  Adams picked up the win, striking out six, giving up six hits and walking one in five innings pitched.  Bendickson struck out three and walked two.

MC 13, CL 8
    Second ranked (4A) Mason City slugged it out with the Lions in a non-conference game played Tuesday at Roosevelt Field in Mason City.  In the end, the Mohawks avenged a loss last year by picking up a 13-8 victory.
    “With both teams bringing to the field top-five rankings and tons of fans, combined with our upset win over them last year, you could just feel that this game was going to not be an ordinary night of baseball,” said Lions Coach Seth Thompson.
    He was right.  The game was any thing but ordinary.  The rated teams combined for nine errors in the game.
    The Lions took the lead in the top of the first inning, but then gave up nine runs in the bottom of the first which ultimately proved too big of a hole to dig out of.
    “I couldn’t be prouder though of how these kids responded after a really poor first inning,” said Thompson.   “Mason City, I am sure, was expected to just cruise after getting an eight run lead and these kids battled back to cut their lead to two runs at one point.  That is a pretty remarkable task against one of the top teams in the state.  I loved the fact that after that first inning you could just feel the determination our kids had that this game was not over when they came off the field.”
    The Lions’ Gavin Sheakley, who was the winning pitcher as a freshman in last year’s upset win, was back on the mound again this year.  But lightning wouldn’t strike twice.  Sheakley, who was touched for eight nine runs (five earned) off three hits and four walks, was pulled in the first.  Senior Elliott Neuberger was brought in for the final out of the first inning.  He went on to pitch the remainder of the game, giving up four runs (two earned) off eight hits.  He struck out four.
    “Elliott came in to pitch in relief and I thought did an amazing job keeping some great Mason City hitters off balance,” added Thompson.
    The frustratingly long first inning was also marked by a collision between centerfielder Michael Keeran and shortstop Ozzie Adams on a shallow fly ball which sidelined Keeran for the remainder of the game.      
    The Lions managed to claw their way back  into the game by scoring four runs in the second inning.  After a run in the third and two more in the fourth, the score was 12-8 Mohawks.  But that’s where the scoring ended.
    Neuberger, Adams, Tanner Tusha and Colon Lobdell had two hits apiece for the Lions.  Neuberger and Adams each had a double.  Neuberger led the team with three RBI; Tusha had a pair of RBIs.
Algona 4, CL 2
    Coach Thompson summed up his team’s surprise 4-2 loss on Wednesday by simply saying “the night belonged to Algona.”
    “I don’t remember seeing four double plays ever turned in one high school game by one team to be honest,” said Thompson about Algona’s stellar defensive show.   “It wasn’t just the fact that they were making the plays they should make, they were stealing hits away with remarkable plays and made it hard to keep any

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