SOUTH WEBSTER – The South Webster Jeeps and the Clay Panthers were both looking to rebound from tough losses on Monday, when they went head to head on the baseball diamond Tuesday evening. South Webster had just lost to Minford the night before, while Clay was shutout by Notre Dame. Each team wanted the win Tuesday evening, to gain some momentum as they would face conference opponents the day after.
South Webster would get that momentum after defeating Clay 7-2, in a well played game.
South Webster’s Shane Zimmerman and Clay’s Brayden Queen pitched excellent in the first few innings of the game. Both pitchers had kept their opponents scoreless until the third inning.
Zimmerman held Clay without a run through three innings of work, while Queen gave up a run in the bottom of the third.
In that inning, Alek Blevins drove in Nate Wolfenbarker with a single to get the Jeeps on the board with a run.
The Panthers would respond in the top of the fourth inning, as Brody Riffe was able to reach on an error, that also allowed Grant Hempill to tie the game, 1-1.
South Webster would waste little time adding more runs, as they scored twice in the bottom of the fourth inning, thanks to an error in the infield with the bases loaded, and then a sacrifice fly.
After four innings, the Jeeps held a small lead over the Panthers, 3-1.
The Jeeps would increase their lead in the fifth inning. Blevins would bring in Zimmerman after both batters reached on singles.
Once the Jeeps took a 4-1 lead, Clay Baseball coach Marc Cottle decided to make a pitching change for his team, and bring Drew Hadsell to the mound.
Hadsell gave up a single to Trevor Coriell, and Bradley Gee, which would load the bases for Blake Fulk. Fulk hit a sacrifice fly to left field, allowing Blevins to score the second run of the inning.
As the game headed into the sixth inning, Clay trailed South Webster 5-1.
Clay would get one run in the sixth to bring the deficit to three runs, 5-2.
South Webster added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, picking up some insurance runs,and taking a 7-2 lead over the Panthers.
In the top of the seventh inning, Clay was looking to at least tie the game in an attempt to force extra innings. However, the Panthers were unable to get any runs in the inning, ending the game.
“Overall, I think we played well,” Cottle said of his team’s performance Tuesday evening. “We had a couple of errors that really cost us, and we couldn’t get a couple timely hits.”
Cottle was pleased with his starting pitcher’s showing against the Jeeps.
“He’s a freshman, and he kept us right in the game all the way through,” Cottle said. “We just couldn’t get a couple key hits, and if you take away a couple errors, it’s a lot closer game.
“Overall, I’m pleased. The kids battled and they didn’t give up.”
Ryan McClintic, South Webster Baseball coach, was happy to get the win after his team fell to SOC II rival Minford on Monday.
“It was nice for us to get back in the winning column,” McClintic said. “It has been a rough start to the season for us. We’ve started league play, and just every night in the league is just a battle here in the SOC II.”
Zimmerman got the start Tuesday, although he is usually called on to fill a relief pitcher’s role.
“I just wanted to see what he could do to start out the ballgame, and he really impressed me,” McClintic said. “He did a really good job. He has a nice repertoire of pitches, and does a really good job of mixing those up. He did everything we asked him to do.”
Both teams will return to league play Wednesday evening.
South Webster will travel to Minford to take on the Falcons Wednesday evening, and then travel to Oak Hill on Friday evening to take on the Oaks. Both games are set for a 5:00 p.m. start.
The Panthers will take on the Titans from Notre Dame Wednesday in Rosemount. First pitch is set for 5:00 p.m. On Friday, Clay will travel to Franklin Furnace to take on the Green Bobcats. That game has a scheduled 5:00 p.m. start as well.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.