Scoring a run in the bottom of the eighth, St. Clair walked off with a win over the varsity boys on ISG field on Saturday. Earlier in the day, the Clippers fell hard to Mankato Loyola, 14-4.
A strike away from a getting out of the first extra inning, the loss to the Cyclones was especially a heartbreaker for the Clippers as they are still looking for a victory this season.
Ultimately, a passed ball made the difference, but the Clippers had plenty of chances, including in the seventh, when they were an out away from a victory, but drawn into a rundown between first and second, they allowed a runner on third to score.
They also marooned 10 runners.
“We played a good game,” said head coach Mike Krenik. “Yeah, every tight game, you wish you’d done this, you wish you’d done that. Going out to the mound one time, I should have clarified one thing: don’t worry about the runner, worry about the guy scoring. Their intention was to get their guy in a pickle and make us work for it. It’s something we work on every day.”
The Clippers scored a run in the first and two more in the second and never trailed to the final pitch.
Kyle Connor hit a line drive to right field, advanced to second on a passed ball, stole third and scored on a catcher error for a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
Leading off the second, Kale Kelley doubled and scored when Tanyon Hoheisel followed with a single. Hoheisel reached third on a Carson Lyons base hit and scored on a Caleb Connor single. Eighth graders, Lyons and Connor recently joined the varsity team.
On a double, a walk, a Clipper error and a single, the Cyclones scored twice in the bottom of the second, but the Clippers still led 3-2 and then went up front 5-2 in the third after back-to back singles from Nathan Seeman and Kelley and three walks.
Stringing together a trio of hits, the Cyclones posted two runs in the fourth, but the Clippers went up 6-4 in the bottom of the fifth when Hoheisel blasted a triple and scored on a passed ball.
But, taking advantage of Cleveland pitching and catching, the Cyclones tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on a walk a third strike passed ball, a wild pitch a passed ball and a balk.
The Clippers didn’t waste time taking back the lead though when Kyle Connor walked, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on Gabe Sullivan single. They added another run in the seventh when Alex Garcia walked, reached third on a pair of passed balls and scored on a balk.
Later in the inning though, Sullivan and Seeman each singled, and both were in scoring position with one out but were left stranded.
The Cyclones scored on a single and a triple before the tying run came in on the sucker rundown. Their winning run came after a walk, a single and a passed ball before another passed ball got the runner across the plate.
“In those situations, the pitcher will get tightness unless they’ve been up there in that situation enough times,” Krenik said.
The Clippers kept their errors in check, just committing two, one more than St. Clair. They outhit the Cyclones 12-10.
Hoheisel had a triple and a single. Kelly had a single and a double. Seeman hit a pair of singles. With one single were Kyle Connor, Lyons and Caleb Connor.
In a solid effort on the mound, Hoheisel (above) went five innings. He gave up six hits, struck out eight and walked five.
“Tanyon did a whale of a job,” Krenik said. “I was really happy with his effort.”
Sullivan switched from catcher to pitcher in the sixth. He allowed four this, six walks and struck out one.
“Gabe had a nice curve,” Krenik said. “He was keeping the ball low and making them pound into the dirt, and we were making the plays behind him.”
Garcia had good day at third, Krenik said, coming through with big plays when the Clipper needed them.
After a trio of decisive losses, the Clippers showed they had a pulse earlier in the day on ISJ field when they pulled within a run in the third against Loyola. But the Crusaders scored three in the fourth to take a 6-2 lead and never lost control from there.
The Clippers added two in the fifth, but the Crusaders scored six more in that frame and two more in the sixth for the early out.
The first pair of Cleveland runs came on an error, a Kyle Connor triple and a Jack Voit single. The second two were the result of a Sullivan double, a Kelley RBI single and a Hoheisel double.
The other three of the eight Clipper hits were Kyle Connor singles in the first and fifth and a Kelley single in the first.
Kelley started on the hill and gave up six hits and four walks while striking out three in four innings. Caleb Connor came in relief in the fifth but only lasted a third on the inning after issuing five free passes after the leadoff batter flied out. Kyle Connor tossed the final inning and allowed four hits and two walks while striking out none.
Madelia 16, Cleveland 4
The Clippers got off to a good start at Madelia on May 9 but ultimately fell hard, 16-4.
Seeman led the game off with a walk. He advanced to second on a Kyle Connor double and scored on a Voit single. Connor crossed the plate on a Sullivan single.
But on four hits, two walks and an error, the Blackhawks followed up with seven runs for a lead they would only expand upon. They added another run in the second, four more in the third and four more in the fourth.
The Clippers never got another hit after the first. They managed two more runs in the fourth, when Brady Bostic, Seeman, Kyle Connor and Voit walked, and Seeman scored on a ground out double play.
The Clippers struck out nine times. Madelia totaled a dozen hits and took advantage of a whopping 10 Clipper errors.
Sullivan started out on the mound. He gave up seven hits, struck out one and walked two. Kyle Connor took over to start the third. He allowed five hits, walked two and struck out none.
Martin County West 12, Cleveland 2
At Home against Martin County West on May 15, the Clippers scored two runs in the second to lead 2-1, but the Mavericks responded with six runs in the third and never glanced backwards.
MCW scored a run in the first on a walk, a pair of stolen bases, and a Clipper error.
The Clippers scored their only two runs in the second when Sullivan reached first on a third-strike passed ball. Kelley got hit by a pitch, and Sullivan scored when Bostic hit into an error. Kelley scored on a Garcia single.
The Clippers totaled five hits. Voit had a pair of singles while Sullivan and Kelley each had a single.
Hoheisel started out on the mound and went two and two-thirds innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out four but walked 11. Kelley pitched three and a third innings in relief. He allowed four hits and two walks while striking out four.
Errors continued to plague the Clippers. This time they had eight to the Maverick’s one.
Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda 13, Cleveland 3
The Coyotes outhit the Clippers 9-5, but five Clipper errors led to the lopsided 13-3 final.
The game was played in Mountain Lake a day after the loss to MCW.
Voit walked and scored on a Sullivan double in the top of the first, but the Clippers didn’t score again until the fifth when eighth grader Lyons singled for his first varsity career hit. Lyons moved to second on a walk, advanced to third when Kyle Connor hit into a fielder’s choice, and both scored on a Voit double.
The two runs weren’t enough to stop the 10-run rule, and the game ended after four and a half innings.
The Coyotes tied the game in the first on a pair of Clipper miscues and took a 5-1 lead in the second on a single, a walk, a double, a Clipper error and another single.
The Clippers struck out seven times. Connor singled in the third, and Kelley singled in the fourth.
Sullivan started on the mound. He allowed five hits, walked four and struck out three. Kyle Connor came in in relief with one out in the third. He surrendered a pair of hits and a pair of walks and struck out none.
Caleb Connor, in his first varsity effort, threw the final inning. He gave up two hits, walked three and struck out two.
The Clippers host Mountain Lake today (Monday).
Kale Kelley started on the mound against Loyola.
Blake Lyons on the toss during the St. Clair game.
Seniors Jack Voit, Alex Garcia and Tanyon Hoheisel were recognized before the home game against MCW.
Alex Garcia at third on the grab and throw against MCW.