Lions finding ways to win

(Above) Clear Lake’s Chase Stuver keeps his eye on the ball as he leads off during the Central Springs game.  The Lions defeated the Panthers, 10-4.  -Reporter photo by Chris Barragy

Coach Seth Thompson is still waiting for his team to put it all together, but so far the journey has been entertaining.

“We are about one-third of the way through our season and this team has been a ton of fun to watch and coach.  Even though they haven’t got things rolling yet offensively, they are still finding ways to win and have shown a lot of grit and confidence in quite a few close games and tense spots they have already had to battle through,” said Thompson.  “To be 8-4, despite an offense that has yet to get rolling, says a lot about the heart these kids have, especially considering our top pitcher has only been able to pitch one game because of injury.”

Last week the Lions were defeated by Webster City, but bounced back to post four straight wins.

Webster City 9, CL 0

The Lions managed just two hits against a powerful Webster City team on the road Monday, June 4.  The Lynx held their opponent in check for a 9-0 victory.  Thanks to five walks, the Lions had some runners on the base paths, but Zach Lester and AJ Stevenson recorded Clear Lake’s only hits.

“We didn’t really play well enough in any aspect of the game to give ourselves a chance to win against a good team and one of the better pitchers in this area,” said Coach Thompson.

Ben Finn was saddled with the loss.  He allowed eight runs on seven hits.  He struck out two and walked one.  Mac Adams pitched in relief, giving up five hits and a run.  He struck out four and walked one.

“I thought Mac did a great job of coming in relief and only giving up a single run over three innings, but we just didn’t execute as hitters or pitchers tonight as well as we needed to,” said the coach.

CL 10, Central Springs 4

The Lions amped up their hitting Tuesday and came away with a 10-4 win over Central Springs.

“I thought this was a very positive step in the right direction offensively, and although we gave up two home runs, I thought our pitching was solid overall,” said Coach Thompson.

Erik McHenry pitched for the win.  He limited the Panthers to just four hits and sent nine batters back to the bench on strikeouts.  He walked three over five innings of work.

“Brecken Arndt got a very well-deserved chance to get his first varsity innings on the mound and he did a great job finishing off a nice win for his team,” added the coach.

Four Lions had two hits apiece in the win.  Zach Lester was two-for-four at the plate with two doubles and three RBIs.  Nathan Tofte had two hits in three appearances at the plate.  His batting brought in two runs for the Lions.  Freshmen AJ Stevenson and Austin Warnke were both two-for-three, with Stevenson getting two RBIs.

“It was great to see a number of kids have multiple hits and I thought our approach at the plate for most of the night was good,” said Thompson.

CL 6, St. Ed’s 5

Clear Lake got off to a fast start, scoring three runs in the first and two in the third, but had to rely on a late rally to top Fort Dodge St. Ed’s by a 6-5 score Wednesday, June 6.

“We did a nice job of coming out of the gates putting pressure on their defense, but just couldn’t keep the momentum going and gave their pitcher and defense a couple innings in the middle of the game too many easy outs with bad approaches at the plate,” said Coach Thompson.

Nathan Tofte started the game on the mound for the Lions.  The senior threw five and two-thirds innings, giving up five runs on five hits.  He struck out two and walked one.  With the game tied in the top of the sixth, Zach Lester came in to relieve.  He helped the Lions get out of the jam and earned the win by holding the Gaels hitless the remainder of the game.

While he didn’t get the win as a pitcher, it was Tofte who provided the winning hit.  His single in the bottom of the sixth scored the winning run.

Erik McHenry and AJ Stevenson had two hits apiece in the game and each had a double.  The Lions had 10 hits total.

“Our defense was outstanding most of the game, led by Hunter Gerhardt in right field doing a great job making plays all night and finishing off the game with a double play from right field to first base,” said the coach.

CL 9, GHV 3

The GHV Cardinals had trouble keeping up with Clear Lake in a 9-3 game played Thursday, June 7, in Garner.

“I thought Mac (Adams) had his best game pitching as a Lion and our offense got better as the game went on, putting up runs in every inning after the second,” said Coach Thompson.  The head Lion also praised freshman Austin Warnke for his “tremendous diving catch” in left field to give his defense some energy.   “It was a great win for the Lions against a

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