CLOVERDALE -- The Cloverdale baseball team improved passed the .500 mark after Thursday night's convincing win. The Clovers defeated White River Valley 14-4 thanks to solid pitching from Jordan Brinkman (3-2) and opportune hitting and defense from the Clovers.
"We want to continue playing good defense and being aggressive at the plate," said head coach Bryan Archer.
The first inning started rough for Brinkman as he threw six straight balls, walking the first batter. However, catcher Austin Mannan got the runner as he attempted to steal second, picking him off by a mile. Brinkman struck out the next batter and started to settle in, giving up only two runs in the game with five strikeouts and four walks. Brinkman also had a good day at the plate, walking twice, scoring twice and hitting a double and the game-ending single, bringing in four RBIs.
"Jordan threw four and did a great job," Archer said. "He did a good job mixing it up."
The Clovers got two runs in the first inning thanks to a shaky performance from White River Valley's Shane Kollar (0-1). After walking Brinkman to start the inning, Ethan Atwood advanced the runner with a strong hit, but barely missed beating the ball to first base. Brian Dale brought him in on the very next pitch with a single through the right side gap, and Dale later scored after an error allowed Frank Skiles to get to first base.
Cloverdale brought in one more run in the second inning. After Brinkman got on base with his second walk, Dale brought him in from third on another single, bringing in his second RBI of the day.
White River Valley got their first hit of the night in the third with a single, and later scored in the inning. But the Clovers responded in a big way and scored another five runs in the bottom of the third inning, bringing the total to 8-1. Thanks to a few pitches getting past the White River Valley catcher, Shawn Shipp was able to score from third, and Mannan and Josh Burdette were able to get in scoring position. That's when Brinkman hit a double to the outfield, scoring the duo. Atwood hit a double on the next offering and brought in Brinkman, and scored shortly after thanks to a passed ball by the catcher. But the inning ended when Dale was tagged at home plate, ending the Clovers' five hit, five run inning and bringing the score to 8-1.
White River responded with two more runs in the fourth inning, and the Clovers answered with two runs of their own, one unearned. In the top of the fifth inning, Brinkman was replaced with Will Andersen, but after giving up three walks, he was pulled and replaced with Dale, who ended the inning with a flyout and a foulout.
With some help from White River Valley, Cloverdale scored the four runs they needed to end the game early in the bottom of the fifth. After a single from Josh Hayden, White River Valley's relief pitcher threw four walks in a row, bringing in Hayden and Mannan and keeping the bases loaded. Then Brinkman came up to bat and hit the single that drove in Cody Carter and Burdette.
Archer said he was proud of his team and the streak they've created, but there is still work to be done before sectionals.
"There's still some mental approaches at the plate we're trying to fix," he said.
"It's the middle of the season and we're playing pretty good baseball. We're getting there. When we put games like this together it gives them confidence."
Cloverdale's next game is today. They play Linton at 6 p.m.
White River Valley: 001 12 -- 4
Cloverdale: 215 24x -- 14
WP -- Brinkman (3-2)
LP -- Kollar (0-1)
Cloverdale -- Brinkman: double, Atwood: double, Mannan: double