The Clear Lake baseball team (28-5) dropped from number one to number three in Class 3A in the final weekly rankings of the 2014 season. Three losses during the week, two of them to Algona and the other to Webster City, contributed to the fall and made the Lions runner-up in the North Central Conference with a 15-3 record.
The Lions will be looking to avenge the loss to Webster City Friday night when Substate 2 District 3 play begins in Clear Lake. Game time is 7 p.m. The winner will advance to play the winner of the Ballard vs. Humboldt game in a 7 p.m. contest Monday, July 21, in Clear Lake. That District winner will face the winner of Substate 2 District 4, which includes Algona, Nevada, Boone and Gilbert.
Algona 8, CL 6
The Lions started the week with the daunting task of facing Algona two times in two days. The Bulldogs, which were battling the Clear Lake for the conference title, were undaunted when they stepped onto Lions Field Monday, July 7. And after being down 2-1 in the first inning, they tied the game in the third and exploded for four runs in the sixth.
The Lions were down 8-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but rallied for three runs. It just wasn’t enough.
“We just weren’t very sharp defensively or on the mound tonight, and against a really good team like Algona you just can’t afford to give up extra bases and give them extra outs,” said Clear Lake Coach Seth Thompson. “These kids showed their resolve in mounting a rally to get the winning run to the plate in the last inning after being down five before it started, but unfortunately just ended up digging themselves a little too deep of a hole to get out of. When two good teams go at it on most nights it comes down to who makes the key pitches and which defense makes the key plays, and on this particular night we were not that team.”
The Lions pounded out 10 hits in the game, with Mitch Keeran and Brandon Tofte each getting two. Both of Keeran’s hits were doubles which scored two runs. Brock Adams, Pete Swenson and Jacob Hogan all had singles which scored runs. Lead-off batter Parker Truesdell reached base three times with one hit. He scored three runs for the team.
Devin Uhlenhopp also had one hit, a double. Ben Mason also reached base on a single.
Brock Adams took the loss on the mound. He pitched five innings and gave up five hits and five runs. He struck out three and walked one. Pete Swenson threw two innings and gave up three hits and walked one.
Algona 6, CL 1
They say “timing is everything.”
“It is an odd situation to face the same team on back-to-back nights, and unfortunately for us we caught Algona at a point in the season where they had some hot hitters and we were not playing our best ball,” said Coach Seth Thompson.
For the second time in as many nights Algona topped the Lions to claim sole possession of the lead in the North Central Conference. Algona improved to 15-1 in conference play with a 6-1 victory, while the Lions dropped to 13-2 in the conference.
Algona jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning. The Lions pushed one run across the plate in the third, but Weston Shaw shut down the Lion offense the rest of the way. Shaw held the Lions to just three hits and struck out 13.
“Their pitcher tonight was outstanding, and showed our hitters some things that we can work on heading into District play,” said Coach Thompson. “I think our kids are hoping to be able to see this team again down the tournament path so they can show everyone that they are capable of playing better baseball than we did the last two days.”
Parker Truesdell had a pair of hits for the Lions and scored the only run. Brock Adams brought Truesdell home with a one-out single in the third.
Adams was again tagged as the losing pitcher. He gave up two runs in two-thirds innings pitched. Brandon Tofte threw five and one-third innings. He didn’t give up any hits, but walked six. He struck out two.
Webster City 5, CL 4
Webster City broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning with a successful squeeze bunt which gave the Lynx a 5-4 victory. The loss meant Clear Lake would not repeat as conference champions.
“Our hope is that this three-day stretch of games will help us become a better and stronger team for the tournament trail ahead of us starting next week,” said Coach Thompson. “Webster City has some really nice athletes and has been playing some pretty good ball lately. The nice part about a game like this at this point in the season is that it will help erase any chance that kids could start looking past Webster City heading into District play. They obviously can beat us and we have to work hard to play better ball Friday when we see this same team on our field in District play.”
The Lions found themselves down 2-1 after one inning, but with two in the third and another run in the fourth they held a 4-2 lead until the bottom of the sixth. The Lynx scratched out two runs in the bottom of the sixth, then set the plate for the winning squeeze bunt in the seventh.
The Lions used nine hits to score four runs. Pete Swenson provided three of the hits, including a double. He finished