Efficient pitching performance lifts Clinton past Pender

Clinton’s Bailey Spell connects for a line drive to center in the sixth inning on Tuesday night against Pender. Spell pitched six innings allowing only four hits, striking out four and did not give up a base on balls in the Dark Horses’ 6-2 win over the Patriots. To view more photos from this game, visit the sports section on atthe18foto.smugmug.com. (Mike Carter/Sampson Independent)

Clinton hosted Pender on Tuesday night in a Four County Conference baseball game with Bailey Spell pitching six innings in as efficient a manner as seemingly possible. Spell used only 57 pitches in his six innings of work in route to a 6-2 win over the Patriots to keep the Dark Horses in the hunt for the Conference title.

Clinton got a run in the bottom of the first when Jake Taylor got aboard on a single, advanced to second on a Jonathan Wright single and scored when Chandler Whitfield singled to center. Clinton left two runners stranded and held a 1-0 lead after the first. Pender would knot the score in the second inning plating a run on a sacrifice fly.

The Dark Horses got some breathing room in the bottom of the third, scoring two runs on a hit, a walk and two Pender Errors. Jonathan Wright drew a one out walk, advanced to third on an error that put Wade Sumner on second. Wright scored on an error by the Pender first baseman on a ball hit by Chandler Whitfield. Byron Tyndall drove a hit past the short stop to bring Sumner home and extend the Clinton lead to 3-2.

Clinton added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth, once again capitalizing on Pender miscues. Blake Davis got aboard on an error by the second baseman, advanced to second on a hit by Jake Taylor, and scored on a throwing error that saw Taylor advance to third. Jonathan Wright hit a line drive single to center, putting runners on the corner for the Horses. Wade Sumner once again got aboard on an error, scoring Jake Taylor and advancing Wright to second. Wright scored when Pender committed a two out error to run the score to 6-1 after four innings.

The Patriots were able to get a run across in the top of the sixth to cut the Clinton led to four runs at 6-2. Clinton’s coaching staff opted to give Jonathan Wright an inning of work, bringing him in to relieve Bailey Spell in the bottom of the seventh. Spell allowed two runs on four hits, striking out four and allowing no walks in his six innings of work before yielding to Wright. Wright came in and struck out three of the four batters he faced to close down the Patriots in the seventh.

At the plate Jake Taylor, Wade Sumner and Jonathan Wright each had 2 hits for Clinton with Bailey Spell and Byron Tyndall adding one hit apiece for the Horses.

After the game, Clinton head coach Thornton praised his pitcher saying, “Bailey was right on the strike zone all night throwing only 57 pitches. The guys played good defense behind him making some nice plays. At the plate we put the ball in play, forcing Pender to make some plays and they helped us out with some errors. Their pitcher shut us out down there and we told the guys to just concentrate on putting the ball in play and they did that tonight.”