GREENVILLE – Oh, say, could they see.
When the fans gazed on Old Glory during the playing of the national anthem before Thursday evening’s Class 3A baseball playoff game between the Clinton Red Devils and Powdersville Patriots, they could see just what kind of game it was going to be. The American flag was stiff. Winds were gusting to center as the Devils shattered the Pats, 18-11.
A slugfest. A crusher. An assault. An attack. On a defenseless little white ball with red stitching.
Clinton scored 18 runs. Powdersville scored 11. Clinton plastered 18 hits. Powdersville rapped 11.
Somehow the Red Devils managed to advance into an Upstate winners bracket game on Saturday at Chapman without unduly fatiguing their pitching staff. Damian Price, Caleb Taylor and Davis Wilson took their turns and lumps, but they had hitters to back them up. In fact, Taylor and Wilson were hitters to back themselves up.
Even though Collin Wendorff, Gavin Troyer, Eli Hudgens and Jack Hunsinger all hit homers for the Patriots, collectively driving in 8 runs, the Red Devils got homers from Wilson, Jaylin Alexander and Zane McLendon, pushing 6 across, and provided their usual innovation – 2 scored on a single wild pitch – en route to their 4th game of the season versus Region 3 rival and runner-up Chapman, an 8-2 winner at Seneca.
Seneca visits Powdersville in an elimination game, also on Saturday.
The game started out rough for the redclads. Powdersville scored 3 times in the bottom of the 1st inning. Fair enough. Clinton scored 4 in the top of the 2nd. Powdersville scored 2 in the bottom of the 3rd.
Beginning with the 4th inning, the Red Devils scored at least 2 runs in each remaining frame, never trailing after a 6-run 4th.
Ten batters stepped up. Four got hits. Two got walks. One was hit. Wilson and Alexander hit their blasts back to back.
Clinton (25-5) got a bit sloppy at the end, but the lead was 15-5 when Powdersville put together a 5-run 6th. No problem. The Devils tacked on 3 more quick runs in the 7th and retired the Patriots with a lone marker in the 7th.
Alexander was 4-5, scoring 4 runs and driving in 2. Taylor and Wilson each amassed 4 RBI. Fortman, who was 3-4, scored 2 and drove in 3. Eight Red Devils had at least a hit. Seven drove in at least 1.
Mastering the understatement, Clinton head coach Sean McCarthy said, “We hit the ball.
“This was a team victory. Everybody played a part. From the time we got 3 behind, it was all hands on deck.”
Both teams hit the ball hard. Outfielders looked as if they were trying to protect the Great Plains from buffalo herds.
Alll in all, it was a thumper, and Clinton did the better part of the thumping.