Clay City -- Josh Stoelting and the Clay City High School baseball just
about put it all together Tuesday night in a 20-10 Tri-River Conference victory over the visiting North Central Thunderbirds.
Stoelting went 4-for-4 at the plate with two home runs, four RBI and four runs scored. He was also the winning pitcher with relief help from Elliott Booe.
"[Stoelting] had a great night all around. I thought he pitched extremely well," Clay City Coach Mike Owen said.
"Hitting wise, he's been disappointed with his hitting, but tonight he was spraying the ball around. He's got the power still. Even with the wind [the home runs] were legitimate shots," Owen added.
Stoelting and Booe, who went 3-5 with a home run, triple and four RBI, paced a 23-hit Clay City attack that include six extra-base hits. Eight of the nine starting Eels had at least two hits, and Greg Long's one hit as a double.
"This is by far the best we've hit the ball. One through nine, these guys went up there and they were confident, and it's just like anything else, a couple of guys get hits and it starts to have a snowball effect," Owen said.
The Eels jumped out to a 12-1 lead, sending 17 batters to the plate.
Brandon Wells opened the bottom of the first inning with a double, Booe followed with a home run and Stoelting matched it with another homer and the Eels were up 3-1.
Long was hit by a pitch, Cody Gerber singled and one out later Brock Dyer singled to score Long. Ryan Camp singled to bring in Gerber and moved Dyer over to third, from where he scored on Klay Knox's sacrifice fly.
The merry-go-round continued when Wells, batting for the second time in the inning, was walked. Booe then ripped a triple that scored Wells and Knox, making it 9-1.
Stoelting singled to bring in Booe for the second time and Long received a walk. After a North Central pitching change, Gerber and Wellman had back-to-back run-scoring singles to give Clay City a 12-1 lead. "We just didn't have our heads on at the beginning [of the game]," North Central Coach Robb Hester said.
Clay City extended that lead to 16-3 and appeared headed for an early finish in the fifth inning. But North Central battled back with four runs in the third and three in the sixth.
"We need to finish the game off when we have the opportunity and we didn't do that tonight early with one of those chances. [But] they made a big play," Clay City's Owen said.
In the fifth inning, with Clay City one run away from ended the game on the 10-rune rule, North Central's Kyle Boyll threw out Klay Knox at homeplate from near the leftfield warning track.
Knox, however, did put the finishing touch to the victory. In the sixth inning, Stoelting, Long, Gerber, Wellman, Dyer, Camp and Knox put together seven consecutive hits to score the four final runs.
Clay City returns to action Thursday night at White River Valley in a SWIAC contest.