Clovers' senior night spoiled by Patriots
ROACHDALE -- In their final home game of the season and last game before sectional play begins next week, Cloverdale's baseball team looked to send its four seniors off in style.
Owen Valley was not moved and took control of Friday's contest in the fourth inning to spoil the evening with an 8-2 victory over the hosts.
Cloverdale coach Bryan Archer said that while the pitching was strong from his group, mistakes were taken advantage of by the visitors in a way his own squad did not.
"The difference tonight was that their hitters took advantage whenever we made a mistake," Archer said. "Whenever their pitchers made a mistake, we didn't take advantage.
"We'd have runners on and they'd make a mistake. We'd foul the pitch off. They'd make the hits with runners on. When we got in the same situation with runners on, we didn't do the same thing."
After the Patriots scored in the top of the first, the game quickly progressed to the fourth inning as Cloverdale's Tyler Carter and Owen Valley starter Bo Elliott quickly worked through the batting order.
The hosts ran into trouble in the fourth inning as a single by Casey Roberts, a double by Ryne Heckman, a two-run single from Hunter Sturgeon and a run-scoring double from Matt Mauder saw the visitors move ahead 4-0.
Another run came after a delayed double steal saw Mauder make a move on second to draw a throw from catcher Brayden White, allowing Sturgeon to score and move the Patriots ahead 5-0.
Archer said it was a frustrating inning as the Clovers came close to getting out of trouble at different intervals.
"A couple of their hits found holes and they had a couple of bloop hits in the outfield," Archer said. "We had one of their hitters deep in a count and he singled to score two runs.
"They took advantage of the situation. We were in a similar spot with runners on but we couldn't come up with those timely hits."
A lead-off double from Chase Roberts to start the fifth saw Carter and Kade Schroer switch spots. Heckman delivered a run-producing single and later scored on an error to make the score 7-0.
Cloverdale made inroads in the bottom half of the inning through Troy Davis, who walked, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Casey Roberts had replaced Elliott and gave up the wild pitch but got the final two outs needed to avoid any more damage, leaving the score at 7-1.
The hosts gave the run back in similar fashion to how they scored it as Nolan King singled, moved to third base on a sac bunt and scored on a wild pitch that went out of play.
Duke Duff led off the following inning with a single and scored on a grounder by Dalton Atwood to make the score 8-2 but the runs would not come in big enough chunks to catch the Patriots in the end.
Carter and Schroer, along with injured seniors Andrew Howard and Jonathan Smith, made the most of a season where they had significant holes to fill according to Archer.
"Coming into this year, three of the four seniors were the only returning starters," Archer noted. "They knew coming into this season that it was going to be a learning process for younger guys.
"They were going to have to help lead them, teach them and do the little things they hadn't had to do. They've done a good job trying to keep these guys up by showing their experience and bringing the other guys up underneath them."
With the regular season completed, Cloverdale will have to wait until Thursday to being postseason play against Covenant Christian.
Archer said that the squad needed to approach the game with the same three goals in mind they had all season in order to advance in the sectional.
"We know that this is it," Archer said. "We're playing a good Covenant Christian team and the thing we're going to talk about is solid pitching, fundamental defense and a strong approach at the plate.
"We need to get back to those three things over the last few days of practice. We don't have to worry about a ton of things, just those three things.
"We have to practice on those, focus on those and when we get out there Thursday night, we have to make those are goals," Archer added. "We need to play fundamental defense, have a great start on the mound and have great approaches at the plate."
OV 100 421 0 -- 8 11 2
CD 000 011 0 -- 2 2 3
WP -- Elliott
LP -- Carter
2B -- Heckman, Mauder, Ch. Roberts (OV)
Next Game: Cloverdale (14-13) travels to the Speedway Sectional to play Covenant Christian next Thursday.