Some games you lose even when the scoreboard says you won. Cleburne County had one of those games Saturday at White Plains. The Tigers won 9-6 but in the bottom of the fifth inning left fielder Josh Davis and center fielder Kade Clark ran together at full speed as each tried track down a ball hit into the gap in left center.
Cleburne County baseball coach Vaughn Lee described the collision as “sickening.”
Clark injured his knee and was schedule for surgery yesterday. Davis hit his head and is being evaluated under the concussion protocol.
“We do have good depth so I think we’re going to be good. I hate it for Kade and for Josh. They had good attitudes and gave great effort. They had kind of carried us at the plate. Kade had really pitched well. They both played good defense. They both can fly,” Lee said Wednesday.
The win snapped a three-game skid. Noah Gaines had a big day at the plate for the Tigers. He mashed a two-run home run in the top of the first inning after Brock Swafford singled and Cleburne County led 2-0. His two-run single in the fifth contributed to a five-run inning that stretched the Tigers’ lead to 7-0. With two away in the fifth, Nick Dunston, Swafford, Gaines and Trevor Houston put together four consecutive two-out singles as the Tigers batted around.
Cleburne County added single runs in the sixth and seventh. White Plains scored four times in the fifth, once in the sixth and once in the seventh.
Damain Benefield had three singles in four at-bats and scored twice. Houston added a double to his single for two hits and Swafford ended with a pair of base hits. Clark, Dunston, Jordan Brown, Will Morrow and Reese Morrison each had a single. Morrison and Gaines also contributed a stolen base apiece.
Benefield was the starter and winner. He allowed six runs, just three earned, and struck out two. Houston came on in the seventh after the Wildcats’ leadoff hitter reached on an error and finished the game. He had one strikeout.
In their first game at White Plains on Saturday, the Tigers fell to Piedmont 7-2. Brown and Swafford each had a multi-hit game with a double and a single. Benefield, Dunston, Gaines and Houston each had a base hit. Dunston also walked and scored twice. Gaines and Swafford drove in one run apiece.
At Roanoke on March 2, Handley scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and edged Cleburne County 4-2. Davis had a pair of doubles to pace Cleburne County’s attack. Gaines had a double and a single. Clark singled twice. Houston and Dunston each had a single. Davis and Gaines scored and Gaines had his team’s only RBI.
Tuesday’s home game against Pell City was rained out and has not yet been rescheduled. Munford comes to Heflin today. The Tigers play Beauregard and Benjamin Russell in Alexander City on Saturday. Cleburne County opens Class 5A, Area 10 on Tuesday in Talladega.