GREEN COVE SPRINGS - The unseasonably cold weather didn’t seem to freeze out the Clay High School’s bats tonight as the Blue Devils took full advantage of several Middleburg Bronco errors in the …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS - The unseasonably cold weather didn’t seem to freeze out the Clay High School’s bats tonight as the Blue Devils took full advantage of several Middleburg Bronco errors in the first inning to build a 9-0 lead that the Broncos could not overcome. In the end, Clay would add another and finish off Middleburg 10-1.
Middleburg’s first at bat yielded nothing for the Broncos.
As they took the field, Clay’s bats were at the ready. An early walk by Middelburg pitcher Jack Kelley put a runner on first. After several Clay hits and several walks, the Broncos found themselves down 7-0, with the last three runs scored on walks. Middleburg put Brett Watson on the mound to try and stop the bleeding.
Clay batter Chase Holman wasn’t fazed by the new arm and hit a two RBI double to bring the score to 9-0.
“We were talking about where we started off the season and things weren’t going our way," said Clay coach Josh Persinger. "The bad hop or the missed sign and stuff like that. We had a big win last week against Fleming Island (a 7-3 win), our rival. The boys played different. They weren’t playing selfish, they were playing selfless and they kind of carried that on. A key hit here, and then they committed an error or two, and they followed that up with two or three hits, so we took advantage of some of those mistakes.”
Clay would put two on base a few more times, but leave them stranded.
By the fourth inning, Middleburg was on their fourth pitcher, trying anything they could to prevent the game ending 10th run before they could score. The tactic worked and through six innings, Middleburg held Clay to nine runs.
In the top of the sixth, Clay side arm slinger Jacob Gann threw a wild pitch. With a Bronco runner on first, he took off for second and was waved onto third. As he slid into third, the ball got lost and rolled into the outfield. The runner who started on first base, made it all the way around to home to score the only Bronco run of the game. With the wild pitches, Clay had enough of the sidewinder experiment and called Andrew Yarborough to the mound for the save.
In the seventh, Yarborough would strike out all three outs of the five batters he faced, to retire the game. “We saw we had an early lead, so I said okay, we’ll kind of treat it as a bullpen and try to get some guys in," said Persinger. "Gann came in and we’re experimenting with him a little bit trying to drop him down. He threw great in the fifth and had a great outing.”
Clay faces Nease Thursday and Columbia Friday.