Times Sports Editor
The Clay Youth League 10-year-old baseball team got the Cal Ripken Southwest State Tourney off to a good start on Thursday evening. Not to be outdone, their 11-year-old counterparts continued the local success by dropping visiting Newburgh in the opening game of their tourney, 9-2.
The CYL squad got a winning combination of balanced hitting throughout their lineup and combined solid pitching from three different hurlers to pick up the win in the double-elimination tourney that will decide what teams advance to the Ohio Valley Regional.
Coach Jeff Stewart was quick to point out his team's offensive success following the win.
"Everyone came out swinging the bats," Stewart said. "Even the kids who didn't get a hit, hit the ball solid."
Indeed, the CYL squad got off to a hot start and was able to put starting pitcher Logan Ames at ease with an opening salvo in the first frame.
Ames set the Mavericks down in order in the top half of the inning to set the plate for the CYL bats.
Tanner Knust lead off the bottom of the inning by lining a single to rightfield and put himself in scoring position with a stolen base and advanced to third as the throw escaped into the outfield. Tucker Stewart got his team on the board by beating out an infield single as Knust hustled home. Brayden White followed with a solid single to centerfield.
The CYL got a little defensive wizardry to save a run in the second inning after Perry Martin and Mitchell Meeks opened the inning with base hits. Ames was able to strike out Sam Huff for the first out and the CYL got out of danger on a slow grounder to second base. Knust pounced on the ball and alertly tagged Meeks going to second and then threw out Huff to complete the double play.
In the bottom of the inning, the CYL added a single run as Stewart drove home Landon Swearingen, who had opened the inning with a hit.
However, the real damage came in the third inning for the local squad.
Schopmeyer got the lead off man in the inning, but the CYL got the rally going on a ringing double by Barrett. Blake Mershon came in to pinch-run for Barrett and came home for the game's fourth run when Liam Jones picked up his second hit of the game.
Mitch Howald walked and moved to second before Swearingen singled him in to signal the end of the night for Schopmeyer on the mound.
Huff came in to relieve his teammate with one out and was promptly greeted by a perfect bunt single by Trevor Smith that brought home Howald. After Stewart reached on a fielder's choice and Brayden White ripped a two-run single to push the lead to 9-0.
Ames' night came to a close following his three innings of work, not allowing a run while striking out four.
Smith came in to pitch and allowed Newburgh a couple of fifth inning runs, but limited the damage over his two innings of work before Howald closed out the win in the sixth inning, striking out two.
Afterwards, Stewart was happy to get some quality pitching from several different hurlers.
"We used three pitchers tonight and it's good to know that you have three guys that you can depend on," Stewart said. "(In a double-elimination tourney) you don't want to fall into the loser's bracket early, so hopefully we can keep things rolling this weekend."
The CYL squad takes on Edgewood this afternoon in the second round beginning at noon at Roy Brann Stadium.
Cal Ripken 11-year-old Southwest State Tourney
2B -- CYL (Stewart), NB (McLean).
Next game: The Clay Youth League faces Edgewood today at noon at Brann Stadium.