Cloverdale crushes Patriots 20-9

Saturday, May 19, 2012

CLOVERDALE -- An otherwise casual afternoon was anything but quiet Friday at Cloverdale where the host Clovers took on Owen Valley in the second-to-last baseball game of the season on Senior Night.

Runs came thick and fast throughout five innings of play, capped off by Austin Mannan's walk off home run that gave the Clovers a 20-9 victory over the Patriots.

Owen Valley started the game off with a bang as lead-off hitter Trent Whitton nailed a solo shot off of Cloverdale starter Justin Wilson and back-to-back singles gave the visitors a quick 2-0 lead.

The hosts answered with two runs of their own. Jordan Brinkman, after being hit by a pitch, scored on a Mannan single. The Clover catcher reached home on a passed ball to tie the score at 2-all.

After Owen Valley failed to make any gains in the top of the second, Cloverdale loaded the bases through a Will Andersen double and a pair of hit batsmen.

Brinkman struck out before Mannan stepped up and hit a grand slam over the left center field fence to extend the Clover lead to 6-2.

The lead would be cut quickly as Owen Valley, even after hitting into an early double-play, strung together four straight hits and plated three runners to cut the deficit to 6-5.

The game could have changed dramatically if not for a home-run robbing catch from Ethan Atwood, who leapt above the left field fence and snagged what would have been a grand slam for Wes Authur to end the inning.

Cloverdale immediately padded the lead with a series of Patriot errors.

Cody Carter reached on an error and was moved over by a sac bunt. William Whitinger also reached on an error that allowed Carter to score. Whitinger scored on a third error that allowed Andersen to reach base.

Brinkman singled home Andersen before Mannan reached on Owen Valley's fourth error of the inning. Atwood plated Brinkman on a fielder's choice to round out the scoring and give the Clovers a 10-5 lead heading into the fourth inning.

Owen Valley promptly scored four runs themselves. A singles, a hit batsman and a walk loaded the bases for Logan Terrell to hammer a shot over the left field fence for a grand slam that brought the Patriots to within a run at 10-9.

A two-out rally then presented the Clovers with four more runs. A single from Trevor Lockwood was followed by a walk to Whitinger and a run-scoring single from Andersen.

More poor Patriot fielding would cost the visitors after Brinkman popped up in the infield. The ball was dropped, allowing Whitinger to score.

Andersen scored on a passed ball before Mannan reached first by diving under the first baseman's tag. Brinkman scored and restored the Clover lead to five runs at 14-9.

Owen Valley failed to add any runs in the fifth and Cloverdale closed the door in stylish fashion.

Brian Dale nearly started the inning with a home run, only to fly out to the deepest part of ball park in center. Wilson reached base at the next at-bat off a dropped third strike.

After a second out in the inning, Lockwood was hit by a pitch and replaced by Troy Davis. Whitinger singled to score Wilson, followed by Andersen drawing a walk and Brinkman plating two with a single.

Mannan then strode up again and closed the door with a three-run home run to left-center field to give the Clovers a 20-9 win.

Afterward, Cloverdale head coach Bryan Archer said that both squads came ready to hit.

"I thought both teams did a good job of putting the bat on the ball," Archer said. "Wilson did a good job pitching. He threw a lot of strikes and was in the zone all night.

"Occasionally, he left a ball high up in the zone and Owen Valley took advantage of his mistakes. They drove in some runs and did a great job at the plate.

"Our boys did a good job at the plate as well. We had good approaches tonight. We laid off some pitches that we hadn't been in the last two games, making their pitchers come to us and we hit the pitches we wanted to."

With a game to go before sectionals, Archer said the squad was refocusing on the little things.

"We've been talking the last few days about getting back to the fundamentals. We've gotten away from that at the end of the season," Archer said.

"We'll get back to the fundamentals, especially on defense. We did well at the plate tonight. The boys are really wanting to work. They're excited about sectionals. They're ready to go."

At Cloverdale

Owen Valley 203 40 -- 9 11 6

Cloverdale 244 46 -- 20 11 1

WP -- Wilson (7-4)

LP -- Whitton (1-4)

HR -- Whitton, Terrell (OV), Mannan (2) (C)

2B -- Terrell (OV), Mannan, Dale, Andersen, Lockwood (C)