The Clark County Indians baseball team took the field for the first time on Saturday, March 22, nearly one year after the program had been revived. Despite the fact that the Indians left Louisiana with pair of losses, neither of those defeats damped the spirits of the boys wearing scarlet and grey.
“It felt like a dream to be playing on the first baseball team in Clark County,” said junior Bryce Shaffer. “To be paving the road for the many kids that will be playing baseball when they get to high school is an honor.”
The Indians opened their inaugural season with a 10-0 loss to Macon. But Coach Jerry Jerome was quick to point out that the final score revealed little about the competitiveness of the contest.
“I thought the boys played well for their first game of the season. We just want to keep getting better every game.” said Jerome. “We were real competitive for the first four innings of both games. As the season goes on, we will learn to finish games.”
Bryce Shaffer took the mound for the Indians, who were the home team against Macon. Shaffer delivered a strike on the game’s first pitch and then struck out Tigers’ lead-off man on four pitches. Shaffer kept the Tigers’ offense off balance early on by mixing pitches changing speeds throughout the game’s first four frames. Macon came to bat in the top of the fourth leading, 1-0, and proceeded to plate eight runs in the inning. Another run in the top of the fifth meant the game would end early with the Indians unable to plate any runs of their own.
While the Indians’ offense was held scoreless against Macon, the team’s first base runner of the year was Brent Tweedy, who reached first on a dropped third strike in the second inning. The Indians’ first, and only, hit came courtesy of Tucker Yates’ double to left in the third. Dillon Allen finished the game after relieving Shaffer with one out in the fourth.
Cyrus Phillips took the ball as the Indians’ starter against Louisiana in the team’s second game. The Bulldogs would scratch out a pair of runs in the first before Phillips would settle down. Once again, the fourth inning would prove to be the Indians’ undoing. With the Indians trailing 4-1, Louisiana would score five times in the inning and then add two more in the bottom of the fifth off of Tweedy, who came on in relief of Phillip, to bring the game to an 11-1 conclusion.
Phillips would score the Indians’ first run of the season in the top of the fourth. After leading off the inning with a single, the Clark County junior would steal second and third with Braydon Kirchner at the plate. Kirchner would draw a walk, setting up a first and third situation with no outs. With Dillon Allen at the plate, Kirchner would break for second. Even though he would be thrown out on the play, Phillips was able to plate a run on the double steal.
The Indians are scheduled to make their home debut on Friday, March 28, with a Varsity and Junior Varsity doubleheader against Putnam County beginning at 5 p.m. They will then host Scotland County on Monday, March 31.
The weekend’s doubleheader was the opening weekend of the Clarence Cannon Conference Tournament. The nine-team league was divided into three three-team sites. Clark County will conclude the CCC Tournament on Saturday, April 5. Opponents and location have yet to be announced.
Macon 010 81 – 10
Clark County 000 00 – 0
Clark County Pitching – Shaffer 3.1, 8 hits, 7 runs (7 earned), 3bb, 4k; Allen 1.2, 4 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 1 bb, 3k
Clark County hits: Yates (double in the third)
Clark County 000 10 – 1
Louisiana 202 52 – 11
Clark County Pitching – Phillips 4, 7 hits, 9 runs (2 earned), 3 bb, 5k; Tweedy .2, 2 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 bb, 1k
Clark County hits: Phillips (single in the fourth)
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Shaun Parker for the story and stats, and Melissa Vigen for the baseball photos.