Times Sports Editor
The Clay City Eels evened their Southwestern Indiana Conference record on Monday night with a 6-5 victory over visiting North Daviess.
The Eels jumped out to a 6-2 lead through six innings and then held off a furious seventh inning rally by the Cougars who left the winning run on second base as Paul Aleman got the save.
"Paul did a real good job I'm really proud of him getting the job done," said Clay City coach Ryan Swearingen.
Ryne Hayes put together another great start for the Eels, going six and two-third innings while striking out 10 Cougar batters and allowing four runs.
"Ryne pitched well for us tonight and did a great job keeping them off balance," said Swearingen.
Both teams came out of the gates quickly using the long ball to get on the board.
Lucas Swartzentruber got North Daviess on the scoreboard by drilling a lead off home run in the first inning.
Clay City came back in the bottom half of the inning when Tyler Bridgewater drilled a two-run home run to bring home Ben Dickey, who doubled to lead off the frame.
In the third inning the Eels added to their lead when Dickey reached first on catcher's interference, stole second base and came home on a single by Matt Vansickle.
The Eels got their clinching runs in the fifth inning with a three run frame.
Dickey reached base for the third time when he was hit-by-pitch and stole his second base of the game. A.J. Evans followed by blasting a double to the right field fence for the Eels' fourth run.
North Daviess brought in Nelson Gruber in relief and he was able to coax a groundout by Bridgewater, but then allowed a walk to Vansickle.
Kyler Rhodes stepped to the plate and looped a short fly to right field that was dropped. Both Evans and Vansickle cruised around to score, giving Clay City a 6-2 lead.
North Daviess responded in its final at-bat, getting a lead off single by Nathan Winklepleck, who would move to second on an error and would later score on an overthrown pickoff attempt by the Eels' catcher.
Hayes would walk a pinch hitter with one out and then give up a second walk to Swartzentruber.
Aleman came in to relieve Hayes and after allowing a two-run double by Zach Overton and an intentional walk to Mitch Wier, struck out Evan Burkhart on a full count to secure the victory.
Afterwards, Swearingen was glad to pick up a SWIAC victory.
"It was big (getting the conference win)," said the Eels' coach. "We played well defensively and made some plays."
The victory moves the Eels overall record to 2-2 and 1-1 in the SWIAC. Clay City travels to North Central tonight for a 4:30 p.m. contest.
At Clay City
2B -- CC (Evans). ND -- (Overton). HR -- CC (Bridgewater), ND (Lu.Swartzentruber). SB -- CC (Dickey 2).
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