Eels come from behind to shock Wolverines

Friday, April 13, 2018
Clay City's Jacob LaFary rips a base hit against White River Valley on Thursday evening. LaFary had three hits in four at bats and was the winning pitcher.

By TERRY SCHWINGHAMMER

For The Brazil Times

SWITZ CITY – Logan Jenkins and Jacob LaFary put a charge into the baseball and the Clay City Eels came from behind to shock the White River Valley Wolverines, 10-8 in eight innings in Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference baseball Thursday.

“It wasn’t the prettiest game we’ve played,” Clay City coach Larry Shaw said. “But we’re going back to Clay City with a win and that’s all that matters.”

With the score tied at eight in the top of the eighth, Buddy Stone led off with a single. Jenkins sent one deep to the warning track in center field and Stone came around to score the go-ahead run. Jenkins later trotted home on a balk.

Clay City had taken an 8-7 lead in the seventh. LaFary blasted a triple in nearly the same spot as Jenkins and raced home on a wild pitch. But in the home half of the inning Hunter Cornelius followed suit, driving a double nearly to the fence. Cornelius scored from second on a dropped third strike, sending the game to an extra frame. The catcher chased the WRV hitter Jeromy Golden down the first-base line and nobody covered home.

It was the Wolverines who jolted the Eels early, leading 6-2 after both teams’ first turns at the plate.

Bailey Hasler delivers a first inning pitch to the plate for the Eels on Thursday evening. Hasler also had a pair of hits in the Eels' win.

Clay City had gotten off to a good start. Bailey Hasler drew a leadoff walk and LaFary followed with a lined single to left. Both came around to score on an error as the Eels took a 2-0 lead.

The Wolverines sent 12 hitters to the plate in a six-run first inning. A hit batsman, a walk and an error loaded the bases with one out. A walk to Cade Eaton sent leadoff hitter Blake Wilson home. Zander Hall was nicked by an inside pitch and Cornelius crossed the plate. Dalton York delivered a 2-RBI double, driving in Wyatt McCammon and Eaton and Tyler Tolley followed with base knock, plating Hall and York.

“We’ve told the kids we don’t care if you’re down seven, eight runs,” Shaw said. “There’s no quit in you.

“They never let up. I was proud of these kids not to give up.”

Clay City has a young roster with 14 freshmen and sophomores. “We’ve got a lot of growing up to do,” Shaw acknowledged. “But we grew up a lot tonight.”

The Eels gradually got back in it, tallying a run in each of the next three innings. Trailing by two runs Clay City closed the gap completely in the sixth, tying the score at seven. LaFary started with the second of his three hits, a leadoff single. Stone was hit by a pitch and Zeke Newton looped one into right, scoring LaFary. Stone scurried home on Jenkins’ chopper in the infield.

For the Wolverines it was the third close loss of the season in as many games.

“They did well for most of the night,” WRV’s first-year coach Bob Wills said. “Then they let up. We’ve got to learn to finish.”

Wills cited earlier one-run losses to Greencastle and South Knox.

“That’s the biggest issue. We haven’t been finishing. And it showed again tonight and reared it’s ugly head. If you don’t finish, you don’t win. That’s the bottom line.”

The Eels are back in action Monday when they host Eastern Greene at 5:30 p.m.

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CLAY CITY (2-3, 2-1) – Bailey Hasler, Jacob LaFary (1) and Zeke Newton. Top hitters: LaFary 3-4; Hasler 2-4, Newton 2-5. 3B: LaFary. 2B: Hasler, Jenkins.

WHITE RIVER VALLEY (0-3, 0-1) – Dalton York, Blaine Patterson (2), Zander Hall (6), Cade Eaton (8) and Eaton, York (8). Top hitters: Tolley 2-5. 2B: York, Brayton Cornelius.