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Clippers advance in district baseball

WILLIAMSBURG– Conventional wisdom has it that it is tough to beat a team three times in one season, let alone in one week. But the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Clippers baseball team dashed that notion as well as South Tama’s hopes of advancing toward the state championship Friday, July 18, in a Class 3A Substate 5 District 9 semifinal baseball game in Williamsburg. The Clippers trounced the Trojans 10-3 to go on to face Vinton-Shellsburg in a district final Monday, July 21.
The substate game was played Wednesday, July 23, in Solon (subsequent to the publication of this newspaper’s July 24 edition).
The Clippers first foiled the Trojans in a doubleheader 6-5 and 3-1 to close out the regular season Monday, July 14, in Tama.
Game one went 10 innings with a stolen base by Jacob Klingeman in the top of the 10th sealing the win. The Trojans took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first but the Clippers answered in the second with two of their own to tie. A Bryan Kalkhoff line drive double to center field allowed Cody Wagner to score while Travis Bowman’s single to center field brought in Kalkhoff. The Trojans answered with a lead-taking run in the bottom of the inning however, and added two more for a 5-2 advantage.
In the third Jake Neubauer scored on a sacrifice by Tanner Bandy and a Nile Rourke single to center field bought Klingeman his second run of the night. CCA trailed 5-4 before tying again in the fifth as Klingeman scored again, this time on a ground-out by Rourke.
The Clippers put up 11 hits from Neubauer (3), Klingeman, Bandy, Rourke (2), Wagner, Kalkhoff (2) and Bowman. Rourke pitched the first nine innings giving up eight hits and five runs (three earned) while walking two and striking out eight. Robby Swails closed the game, giving up one hit, walking one and striking out one.
A Kalkhoff line drive to center field allowed Stephen Jensen to score in the top of the second, giving the Clippers a 1-0 lead early in the nightcap. Kalkhoff made it 2-0 as Kobey Schlotman drove him home with a fly ball to left field. The Trojans put up one run in the bottom of the third, but a standout performance by Schlotman on the mound held the Trojans scoreless from that point on. Neubauer scored in the seventh as Rourke reached on an error for the 3-1 win.
The Clippers put up eight hits from Cody Ogden, Klingeman, Rourke, Wagner, Jensen, Kalkhoff and Schlotman (2). Schlotman was 2-2 at the plate and gave up three hits and one unearned run in seven innings of pitching. He also racked up five strikeouts in the contest.
The pair of wins earned another milestone for the varsity program as the guys ended the regular season with an 18-17 record, tying the school record for wins in a season since moving to Class 3A in 2004, according to head coach Brent Henry. Also, he noted, it was the first time (in 3A) the Clippers finished the regular season north of .500.
In Williamsburg, Henry’s crew faced a lackluster Trojan squad that put three pitchers up against the Clippers to no avail as CCA scored 10 runs on 12 hits. Ogden was the first man to light up the scoreboard for the Clippers, scoring in the bottom of the first on a Neubauer sacrifice fly. Wagner scored in the second after bunting his way to first base. A single with an extra base by Neubauer allowed Wagner to cross the plate for the 2-0 lead.
The Trojans got a run in the top of the third on an RBI triple and RBI double, both deep to center field, to tie the game. A five-run effort from the Clippers retook the lead and demoralized the South Tama squad. A single from Rourke brought Bandy in while Rourke came home on a triple to center field from Jensen. Three bunts in a row from Ogden, Neubauer and Klingeman scored three runs as Jensen, Wagner and Schlotman all scored.
In the fourth, Jensen scored on a single from Swails and Wagner scored as Schlotman reached on an error to make it 9-2 for CCA. The Trojans’ Kolton Smith belted out a solo home run for South Tama’s second run in the fifth, but the unshaken Clippers added another run in the bottom of the inning as Bandy scored again, this time on a single to centerfield by Wagner.
Ogden (2), Neubauer (2), Klingeman, Bandy (2), Rourke, Jensen, Wagner (2) and Swails put up CCA’s hits with a double for Bandy and triple for Jensen. Neubauer had three RBI in the contest. Bowman went the distance for the Clippers, giving up five hits and three earned runs, walking one and striking out six.
The win improved the Creek Boys’ record to 19-17.