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By David Sharp
Clark County scored eight runs in the first two innings of their April 11, 2022 varsity baseball game at Highland and held off the Cougars (0-5) for an 11-7 conference victory. Gabe Howe hit a three run Clark County home run during a five run rally.
Highland got second inning RBI hits from Luke Geisendorfer and Seth Owens, pulling within an 8-4 deficit after two full innings. Clark County (7-3) hit the ball hard, pressuring Highland into defensive mistakes early in the game.
Drew Holsted doubled off former Clark County player Zander Johnson leading off the game. A walk to Coy Nixon and two Cougar errors helped the Indians to three first inning runs.
Highland stunted the rally with an inning ending 6-4-3 double play. Caleb Nelson led off the top of the second inning with a Clark County hit. Drew Halstead was hit by a pitch. Coy Nixon bunted the runners up.
Carter Briscoe drilled a two run hit for a 5-0 Indian lead. Tristen Pitford singled and scored on a wild pitch. Gabe Howe drilled his home run for an 8-0 Clark County lead. Highland halved the Indian lead with their second inning rally.
The Cougars made the first of three good outfield plays, keeping Elijah Elam off base leading off the Clark County third inning. Zander Johnson and Gage Dawson led off the bottom of the third with base hits.
Clark County brought Tristen Pitford in to pitch. Owen Burr pitched the first two innings. Burr was charged with six runs on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
Luke Geisendorfer drove in Johnson and Dawson with a two out RBI hit. Toby O’Brien reached base on a hit batsman. Pitford picked a runner off first base to end the inning. Highland pulled within an 8-6 deficit after three complete innings.
The middle of the contest featured competitive baseball. Highland’s outfield took away two potential hits closing the Clark County fourth frame. Clark County erased a leadoff error with a line drive double play.
Seth Evans relieved for Highland with two out in the sixth inning. Zander Johnson pitched 5 2/3 innings allowing eight runs on eight hits and one strikeout. Carter Briscoe set Highland down in order in the sixth inning.
“The first two or three innings we were really driving the baseball,” Clark County coach Jerry Jerome said. “The middle of the game, we were hitting the ball, but we weren’t driving it.”
“The made a couple of good plays in left field and right field where the ball could have dropped very easily,” Jerry Jerome said. “But they didn’t. We got it back late in the game and put some more runs on the board.”
“Carter (Briscoe) came in and stopped the bleeding in the middle. Drew (Holsted) came in and finished it off. I thought Owen (Burr) pitched well to start. He left a couple of balls up. That happens. It’s just part of the game.”
“I thought we kept fighting and kept battling,” Jerry Jerome said. “We found a way to win today.”
An error and a balk contributed to a three run Clark County seventh inning. Coy Nixon drew a bases loaded walk. Lucas Eddleman scored a run with an RBI ground out. A fly ball out ended the inning with the bases full of Indians.
Cooper Bliven singled and scored on a Zander Johnson RBI hit. A strikeout by Drew Halstead and a ground out ended the game with Clark County taking the 11-7 victory.
Highland scored seven runs on eight hits. Luke Geisendorfer was 2-3 at bat with three runs batted in. Zander Johnson was 2-4 with a run scored and another batted in. Cooper Bliven was 2-4 for Highland with two runs scored.
Clark County scored 11 runs on eight hits. Gabe Howe went 2-3 with a home run and three runs batted in. Tristen Pitford struck out three batters in three Clark County innings pitched on one hit. Carter Briscoe and Drew Holstead pitched an inning each. Both hurlers struck out one batter.
“They came out swinging,” Highland coach Collan Thrasher said. “A lot more than I remember. Which is good because that tells me that my pitchers are around the plate. One of the big learning curves for my team so far this year is that every out is precious.”
“Every run is precious. When our pitchers give up outs. Errors have been killing us this year. When the opposing pitcher gives us an out, we have got to be backing them up,” Coach Thrasher said.
“We had a spurt in the middle of the game where we got out of the third and fourth innings with ten or so pitches. We started getting hits and RBI’s. We started showing some life. I told the boys that is the team we need to be,” Collan Thrasher said.
“We went perfect for two innings in a row. That is the team we need to be. Right now we are struggling. We come out of the gate struggling,” Thrasher said. “The moment you step on that field, you have to go to work.”
“They are getting better. They are figuring it out. I have to give it to them, they kept swinging. They didn’t give up,” Coach Thrasher said. “They got some good hits. They kept fighting. We had more RBI’s in this game than we have had all season.”
“I’m very proud of them for that. There are glimpses of the team we could be. We have to turn that two inning stretch into a seven inning stretch.”