CLOVER — Garrison Clinton, head coach of the Clover Junior American Legion baseball team, says he has been pleased by the team’s progress.
With the playoffs scheduled to begin July 8, the Post 38 junior participants were awaiting the announcement of an opponent for the best-of-three series.
The Clover Junior Legion team has played competitive baseball against strong teams from Region 5, including last week’s 5-4 loss to York Post 66.
The host York team scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the first inning on an error followed by consecutive hits.
Post 66 appeared to have placed itself in the driver’s seat, scoring four runs in the second inning to move ahead 5-0.
But Clover worked its way back into the game with three runs in the top of the fifth. L.D. Dunlap opened the fifth inning with a single but was thrown out attempting to steal second.
With one out, Jack McDowell drew a walk. After Cole Hybarker followed with a single, Chase Curtis, with runners at second and third, belted an RBI single.
After Hybarker scored on a wild pitch, Austin King singled to right-field, scoring Curtis as Clover found itself back in the game, trailing 5-3 with enough time left to rally.
Post 38 sliced York’s lead to a single run at 5-4 with a run in the top of the sixth inning.
After Dunlap reached first with one out, he scored on an infield error and York’s lead had dwindled to 5-4.
Clover had another scoring opportunity in the sixth, but with runners at first and third, Alex Courtwright got caught in a rundown and was tagged out.
Later, a wild pitch left runners at first and third again, but Post 38 was unable to score and York held on.
Clinton sized up the gut-wrenching loss in a postgame interview before the Post 38 team boarded the bus to Clover. “It was a tight game,” he said. “If we execute in a few situations, we could’ve pulled it out.”
“York is a good team,” said Clinton. “They have the best pitching staff we’ve faced this season.
“We are a good team, a young team that has improved since the season began.”
“I am extremely proud of our players. They fought back tonight,” Clinton said.