Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- Strikes were at a premium for pitchers on both sides of the diamond at Clay City High School on Tuesday evening. Both Brylan Jones for the Eels and all three hurlers for Bloomfield had their difficulties finding the plate, but it was Clay City that got the big hits when it needed them in a 16-6 victory that ended via the 10-run rule in six innings.
The Cardinals got off to a good start in the game as lead-off hitter Zaq Query blasted a solo home run just one night after hitting a walk-off home run to defeat White River Valley for a SWIAC win. Query's shot helped Bloomfield out to a 2-0 lead to start the game.
However, Cardinals' pitcher Brandon Roudebush was off target early and the Eels patiently took three walks and Zach Boggs was hit-by-pitch. A wild pitch scored Seth Barrett from third and Ben Denker stepped up and drilled a two-run single up the middle. Blake Cesinger drove in the fourth run of the inning with a groundout as the Eels took the lead.
"Well we got the job done. We came out a little flat tonight. (Bloomfield) is a pretty solid team, they put the ball in play tonight, but we were able to battle back and put some runs on the board and made enough plays to win," Eels' coach Vance Edmondson said.
"We talked coming into the game about being patiently aggressive at the plate and swinging at good pitches," Edmondson continued. "We wanted to make sure we made contact and put the ball in play and put the pressure on Bloomfield to make plays. I thought we did a good job of getting base runners on and getting the hits when we needed them."
Bloomfield's problem wasn't getting base runners on, it was driving them in as the Cardinals left the bases loaded in the third inning before finally breaking through to take a 5-4 lead with a three-run fourth inning.
Jones gave up a single to Roudebush with one out and a wild pitch moved him to second before Steven Bond struck out. With two outs, Roudebush came around to score on an error and a wild pitch. Jones walked Query, who stole second and another error allowed a fly ball to drop as Query crossed the plate. Bloomfield then took the lead on back-to-back base hits by Spencer Warren and Jared Bond.
Jones was finally able to escape the jam, leaving the bases loaded, trailing 5-4.
The Eels finally broke the game open thanks to more control problems by Roudebush in the fifth inning as Barrett, Boggs and Mason Persinger walked to load the bases. Bloomfield brought Steven Bond in to pitch, but he was greeted by an RBI single by Denker and then a three-run double to right field by Kole Smith. An RBI single by Jones gave Clay City a 9-5 lead, an advantage they wouldn't relinquish.
The Eels played add on in the fifth inning as Boggs drew another walk, Easton Booe singled and Persinger walked again to set up Denker for a two-run double. A walk to Cesinger led to Jones reaching on an error by the Cardinals' shortstop that brought two more runs home.
Leading 13-6 after five innings, Clay City finished off the win with a three-run sixth inning as Boggs doubled and came home on a single by Persinger and Colton Harbour scored on a wild pitch.
Edmondson has been pleased with his team's ability to play a sharper brand of baseball in a run that has seen the Eels win six-of-seven games and improve to 6-5 overall and 5-1 SWIAC.
"We're starting to hit the ball a little bit and that is where we struggled early," Edmondson said. "We were making some errors behind our pitchers, but we've cleaned that up and we're not striking out as much."
The Eels travel to Rockville on Thursday evening at 4:45 p.m.
At Clay City
Clay City 16, Bloomfield 6
2B -- CC (Smith, Denker), Bl (None). SB -- CC (B.Cesinger, Barrett), Bl (Query 2, Roudebush).
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