CLAYTON — Unlike its two previous outings, Clayton’s varsity baseball team didn’t need a scintillating, sixth-inning come-from-behind rally to snatch victory from yet another non-conference opponent.
Instead, the Comets settled matters quickly Friday afternoon, using a pair of six-run rallies to turn their skirmish with county rival Cleveland into a 15-0, five-inning win. Clayton took advantage of whatever was given to them in the back-to-back uprisings.
“We definitely showed improvement today,” said Comets coach Stacey Houser.” Cole (Hinnant) threw the ball well, and we got big hit after big hit.
“ We had some great at-bats and ran them deep into the count a lot of time and we made big defensive plays - today was our day, and the first time in four games it wasn’t decided by one run.”
In the second and third innings, the Comets (3-1) totaled nine hits, three for extra bases, and benefited from five walks, three wild pitches, an error, and a passed ball.
The Comets struck for its six runs in the second after drawing a pair of walks.
Brandon Alexyon delivered a two-run bloop single, following an infield single by Marshall Creech, and a fisted single to shallow left by Chad Thomas which loaded the bases. Cole Hinnant slammed a three-run triple to the right field corner. Hinnant would score on a a sacrifice fly.
The third inning saw Drew Bouemenot lead off with a double, followed by a walk to Corey Poole that sent starting pitcher Masion Mullens to the dugout.
“I have 100 percent absolute confidence in Maison,” said Rams coach Jamie Lee. “He’ll be fine. He’ll do great things for us.”
Alexyon promptly greeted reliever Tyler Stogner with a two-run triple, scoring on a grounder.
Clayton would load the bases again on an error, a walk and Blake Joyner’s infield hit. Brooks Verona then belted a two-run single, and Bouemenot would add an RBI hit to push the margin to 12-0.
Not only were the Comets effective at the plate, they were just as impressive defensively, particularly Hinnant, who took the mound victory.
Hinnant limited the Rams to four hits, while striking out six batters, walking one. He also picked two Cleveland (1-4) runners off base.
Hinnant also charged off the mound to grab a popped up foul ball two steps from home. That catch came in the top of the third, in Cleveland’s only rally of the day, loading the bases with one out on a dropped third strike to Chris Jackson, a single by Brandon Fox and a walk to Alan Michael-Hales.
Hinnant’s catch of Chris Bjorling’s foul and a subsequent fly to center by Avery Dean snuffed that rally. Fox enjoyed a multiple hit day for the Rams, going 2-for-2.
“He’s an athlete,” Houser said of Hinnant. “He’s a pitcher, but he’s also an athlete. We work hard on our pitchers being able to field defensively - all our players are position players, so its no surprise to see him make that play.”
Alexyon was 2-for-2 at the plate for the Comets, who had 12 hits in the contest. Joyner and Boumenot both were 2-for-3.