PORTSMOUTH — Notre Dame entered the bottom of the seventh inning with plenty of confidence. They were up 10-3 on one of their bitter rivals in the Clay Panthers and were just there outs away from a big victory.
But, as Titans manager Drew Mader knows from years of experiences, no lead is safe in baseball.
“Last night’s game started out great for us,” Mader said. “We jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, and then retook the lead after a huge 7-run inning in the fifth. Going into the seventh, Drew Cassidy was doing really well but he started to have trouble finding the strike zone.
“So, we put in Speas who also struggled. Finally, we turned to sophomore CJ Corns on the mound who came in and got the job done by retiring the last three batters. I spoke to the team after the game and reminded them that no lead is safe in baseball. You can’t let good teams stick around. You can never get comfortable out there.”
Offensively, the Titans had 10 hits in the game with Corns, Cassidy, Lansing and Sam Kayser pushing across runs on the day. They are currently undefeated within the SOC, with games against Green and East remaining.
Panthers manager Marc Cottle admits it was tough seeing a rally end just short of some late inning heroics.
“It was a tough loss,” said Cottle. “We came all the way back to be down just one run with the bases loaded. We just couldn’t seem to get that key hit to win or tie it. With that said, Notre Dame is well coached and is an excellent team with great players. Anytime you have five errors in the field you are going to have a tough time beating a team like that.”
Leading the surge offensively for Clay was Cole Gilliland, Keith Cottle, Wyatt Large, Brayden Queen and McGwire Garrison who all batted in runs for the Panthers on the day. Besides the big fifth inning, pitching was solid for the Panthers throughout the day. Cottle looks at the defensive errors and realizes his young team has to continue to work to get better.
“Against the top two teams in the SOC, we took Green to extra innings and lost tonight by one run. Sometimes, it’s like we can’t catch a break. But, we are going to continue to work as hard as possible and finish the season strong.”
Clay is 5-9 and have conference games remaining against East and Symmes Valley.