According to Clinton Recreation and Parks director Judi Nicholson, the Clinton Stars; Clinton American Stars; Clinton Stars Select; and the Clinton Horses traveled to Red Oak and Lillington this past weekend for the N.C. Recreation and Parks Association Statewide Athletic Committee’s, often referred to as SWAC, district tournament.
The 10 and under Clinton Stars, coached by Buster Thornton, and the Clinton Stars American, led by Barney Cannady, both traveled to Red Oak for the tournament.
According to Cannady, the Clinton Stars American played North Johnston Thursday, July 16, at 6 p.m.
From previous reports, Nicholson stated that North Johnston took an early lead and kept adding to it as the game progressed, leaving the final score 8-1, North Johnson.
Cannady reported that the only run scored came off of Clinton Stars American’s Logan Spell.
With a loss under their belts, the Clinton Stars American prepared themselves for their Friday, July 17, game; however, this game, as well as the other three team’s games, were rescheduled due to inclement weather that swept through the two areas.
After an entire day to recoup, the Clinton Stars American faced off against Lillington Saturday, July 18, but were unsuccessful in taking home a win.
According to Cannady’s reports, the Saturday morning game was “not good” for the Clinton Stars American; however, he added, “Our team played well for being the youngest team in the 10 and under tournament.”
Because Cannady’s team of 9-year-olds were playing up against 10-year-old teams, he commented that the Clinton Stars American played good.
“For our first tournament, I think we did well,” Cannady said, adding that nerves could have factored into the two losses.
Before concluding, Cannady reported that the Clinton Stars, who were also slated for the 10 and under tournament, played extremely well.
“Really, his team (Buster Thornton) did much better. They ended as a top four team in the tournament,” Cannady finished.
Thornton said that the Clinton Stars advanced to Sunday in the elimination tournament, finishing fourth in the tournament after five games.
Although the Clinton Stars were handed a loss Thursday, July 16, against Wendell Blue, they came back Saturday, July 18, big with a 17-0 shutout against Raleigh Capitals.
According to Thornton’s stats, the winning pitcher in the Raleigh Capitals match-up was Zack Darden, who pitched three innings.
Also hitting the mound Saturday morning was Warren Gay, who pitched only one inning.
As for leading hitters at the plate, Thornton reported that Dawson Thornton went two for three with two home runs; Gray Sutter went three for three; and Billy Prestage went two for two.
After shutting out Raleigh Capitals, the Clinton Stars progressed to their third game Saturday against Rolesville, winning 6-5.
According to Thornton, the winning pitcher was Tye Travers, who pitched three innings and the save came off Logan Carr who finished the game on the mound.
Thornton further revealed that Turner Wells also pitched two innings.
As for the afternoon’s leading hitters, Thornton said Darden went two for two with two runs scored and Gay went two for three with three RBIs.
After winning game three, the Clinton Stars moved on to their fourth game against the Angier All-stars, winning 5-2.
Darden was the winning pitcher with three innings spent on the mound; however, Travers also pitched two innings.
Leading hitters for the fourth game were Gay, going two for three and Spell went one for two with two RBIs.
The Clinton Stars final game came Sunday morning against North Johnson, who knocked them out of the tournament with a one run lead, making the final score 4-3.
Both Thornton and Travers hit the mound, pitching two and four innings respectively.
Leading hitters were Gay, going three for four and Prestage, who went two for four.
“I want to thank all of the coaches (Hank Gay, Greg Carr and Keith Jones) that helped me, and I want to thank the parents for being so supportive,” Thornton commented, adding his gratitude to the Clinton Recreation department.
In addition, Thornton directed a “thank you” to Scott and Joy Prestage for their support through sponsorship this season.
As the 10 and under tournament was under way in Red Oak, the 12 and under teams traveled to Lillington for the SWAC districts.
The Clinton Stars Select, coached by J.P. Lilliston, and the Clinton Horses, led by Jamie Sumner, represented Clinton Recreation and Parks during this elimination tournament, and while neither of the teams came home with a title, both teams, according to their coaches, played great games.
According to Lilliston, the Clinton Stars Select lost their first game to the Coates 9-4, and they also lost to the Clinton Horses Saturday, July 18, 4-3, eliminating them for the tournament.
Forced to play double-headers Saturday due to the rescheduling of the games because of weather, Lilliston commented that the boys played excellent baseball.
“For being the youngest in the (12 and under) tournament, I thought we handled it well. Everyone had one year experience on us. We lost by a combined total of six runs. We played one bad inning out of 12, and I thought we played good baseball,” Lilliston shared, adding that next year the Clinton Stars Select are predicted to be favored.
During the Clinton Stars Select match-up against Coates, Lilliston reported that they gave up five runs in the first inning.
As for the game against Clinton Horses, Lilliston revealed that the game kicked off with the Clinton Horses taking a one run lead in the first inning; however, they were able to take the lead after Jake Taylor hit a home run, getting two RBIS and making the score 2-1, Clinton Stars Select.
During the game, the Clinton Horses came up to take a 4-2 lead.
Taylor again came back with a home run; however, the cat and mouse game ended with the Clinton Horses taking the 4-3 win over the Clinton Stars Select.
As for Sumner’s team, he felt that the team could have played better, however, said he was proud of his team.
“They all did a great job,” Sumner stated. “I am very proud of them. They worked hard in preparation for this tournament.”
Much like the Clinton Stars Select, the Clinton Horses were forced to play a doubleheader Saturday, and, according to reports, the Clinton Horses lost their first game 6-3 and won the second 4-3, which was against Clinton Stars Select.
The Clinton Horses were able to progress to the third round, held Sunday, but lost to Cary 16-4.
As for future games, Sumner stated that the Clinton Horses are planning on participating in more tournaments.
“They guys are really excited and hope to play more tournaments,” he voiced, adding that the team will continue travel ball through November.
Joining Sumner in hopes of continuing tournament play was Cannady who said, “We are hoping to play more tournaments. We will possibly play a small tournament here (in Clinton), but, for now, the plan is to keep playing.”
Jessica Wagner can be contacted at 910-592-8137 ext.122 or reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org