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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Clovers win over Cascade, falls to Covenant Christian in semifinal

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jordan Brinkman [Order this photo]
CLAYTON -- Cloverdale got off to a positive start in Sectional 46 of the 2A Boy's Indiana High School Athletic Association State Baseball Tournament on Memorial Day morning, defeating host Cascade 9-5.

The Clovers' bats were shut down early against Cadet hurler Zac Baldwin who took a no hitter through the first out of the third inning. That's when things began to unravel for Cascade and its slight 2-0 advantage.

Shortstop Frank Skiles rolled a ball to his defensive counterpart in the Cascade infield who bobbled it, allowing Skiles to reach safely. In all, seven Clovers would reach safely in a row, forcing three Cadet errors, and spreading around two hits, a walk and a hit by pitch.

"We've had some troubles all season where there's only a few innings in a game it seems like we came out to play," said Cloverdale Head Coach Bryan Archer. "But today I thought we did a pretty good job staying in the game all seven innings. We did a good job of maintaining the lead by playing great defense."

The six runs scored would be enough in the end, but Cloverdale wasn't done yet. In the bottom of the sixth, pitcher Brian Dale came to the plate with two on and two out. He smashed the first pitch he saw from Baldwin 370 feet over the left-center field fence, pushing the Clover total to nine.

Cascade threatened with near big innings all day, but Dale was able to get out of each jam. The Cadets stranded ten runners and converted just five runs on eleven hits, while Cloverdale scored their nine on only five hits, leaving five runners on base.

The Clovers faced Covenant Christian in the day's finale, falling 7-4 after surrendering seven hits and a truly remarkable eight errors.

"Give credit to Covenant Christian," Coach Archer said, "they're a great hitting team, and they're extremely fundamental. To beat a team like that you've got to be on your 'A' game and defensively we were not. When you have eight errors, you can't expect to win. Our defense really hurt us tonight."

Sophomore Justin Wilson toed the rubber and did everything in his power to keep the Warrior bats in check, but his defense was unable to support him properly. Wilson finished six innings, allowing all seven hits, striking out four and giving up only one walk. The Warrior damage could have been much worse if it were not for Wilson stranding seven base runners.

Offensively, Cloverdale did all of its damage in the first four innings. Austin Mannan singled to lead off the second and eventually scored. Jordan Brinkman homered in the top of the third which added two more runs with Skiles reaching safely earlier in the inning after a pitch struck him in the back. Skiles scored again in the top of the fourth to reach the final Clover tally.

Coach Archer was positive after the game, despite seeing his team's season end.

"As for the goals that we set, which our guys had a lot of say in, we fell short. Defense was our Achilles Heel all season. At times, we were good enough to play with anyone. I'm proud of my boys, they played hard no matter what, especially tonight. They don't even give up. There's a big senior class coming back, our pitching should improve and our hitting is going to be a strong point again. I've got a lot of good kids coming back, a lot of hard working kids. If they stick with it, good things will come to them."