The Clay Panthers got a boost of momentum as the sectional round of the baseball tournament draws near. Friday evening at the Clay High School baseball field, the Panthers went head-to-head with the Ironton St. Joseph Flyers in a non-conference match-up, that saw the Panthers finish the night with a three-run victory, defeating the Flyers 7-4.
Sophomore Keith Cottle took the mound for the Panthers on the cool, spring evening. He pitched a complete game, giving seven innings work, where the Clay hurler only gave up seven hits, and four runs, three of which were earned. Cottle walked two batters Friday evening, while grounding seven Flyers with strikeouts.
The Panthers put together 13 hits on the night to score seven runs.
Devin Holcomb led the way for Clay in hitting. His 3-3 performance at the plate led the team in hits. He also scored twice.
Three other Panthers finished the night with a pair of hits each, Cole Gilliland, Wyatt Large, and Drew Hadsell.
Gilliland went 2-4 from the plate driving in a run, and scoring once, while Large went 2-4, and had one RBI on the evening.
Hadsell rounded out the three Panthers with two hits. He led the team with RBIs, driving in a couple runs for Clay.
Brody Riffe had a good night for the Panthers as well. The Clay junior went 1-3 against the Flyers, scoring twice, and drawing a walk.
The Panthers had two extra base hits Friday evening. Both were doubles, with one each coming from Large and Hadsell.
St. Joe sent two pitchers to the mound to face Clay, McGraw and Whaley. McGraw was the pitcher of record for St. Joe, and only completed two-thirds of one inning. He gave up a pair of hits, and four runs, two of which were earned, walking only one batter.
Whaley pitched through five and one-third innings, giving up 11 hits and three runs, all earned. Whaley didn’t issue any walks to the Panthers, but did strike out one batter.
Butler led the Flyers in hitting against the Panthers. He went 2-3 on the night, drawing one walk, and scoring two runs for the St. Joe cause.
The Panthers will close out conference play on Tuesday evening, as they host their SOC I rival, the Symmes Valley Vikings at home. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.