By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
TERRE HAUTE —
The Washington Freedom did everything it could to overcome an enormous early game deficit, but it wasn’t enough.
Washington (5-17) lost to Clinton 12-11 in the first round of the American Legion baseball sectional at Jennings Field in a game that featured 23 runs, 36 hits and six errors.
Washington was behind the eight-ball all evening long, but it was finally in a position to win the game with Trevor Resler at the plate. Jake Bedwell doubled to drive in pinch-runner Mac Osborne and cut the Clinton lead to 12-11. Resler hit a line drive to right field, but Kam Weyrauch was up to the challenge and made a diving catch.
Washington fell behind 8-1 following a six-run fourth inning for Clinton, Washington was finally in position to take the lead, and Brady Like capitalized. Like hit a solo home run over the left field fence to give the Freedom a 9-8 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning and Washington could finally exhale.
“Like I’ve been saying all year when we have everyone together we’re a pretty good team,” said Washington coach Jeff Truelove.
Washington had RBIs from five different players, and Tyler Edmiston and Jake Bedwell paced the offense by combining for five hits and five RBIs.
Washington’s momentum was short lived. Clinton bounced back with the tying run in the top of the ninth inning to send the game to extra innings.
The first two Clinton batters reached base and after Washington starting pitcher Bailey White’s pickoff attempt at second base went into center field, Washington once again was in trouble. The inning got worse for Washington when White’s wild pitch allowed Clinton catcher John Brown to score and tie the game at nine.
Washington failed to score in the bottom of the inning, but in the top of the tenth inning, Clinton wasted no time. Clinton thirdbasemen Kaden Lawson hit a solo home run to left field and Clinton was once again in control. White was removed after the next batter; Nathan Luft reached on a single.
“He’s (Lawson) an All-State player,” Truelove said. “We knew he was a good hitter and we’d held him down all night and that’s what good hitters do.”
Trevor Claridge replaced White, but Clinton managed to scratch across two more runs.
Washington was forced to start White after the scheduled starter – Brayden Walls – was informed he couldn’t start, because he didn’t have the correct identification, which is a rule for American Legion baseball. White filled in admirably by pitching nine-plus innings.
“Bailey White – he’s a ball player,” Truelove said. “He’s a bulldog. I couldn’t take Bailey (White) out, he’s a gamer – that’s all you can say about that kid.”
Despite falling behind early with the six-run fourth inning, Washington put up six runs and seven innings in the fifth and six innings to cut the Clinton lead to 8-7. Truelove said the key to getting back in the game was patience at the plate.
“The biggest key was watching the pitcher,” Truelove said. “We were getting deep in the count and walked a couple of times – that’s a big help.”
Washington will take on a familiar foe in a must-win game this afternoon. The Freedom faces Sullivan, a team it has beaten twice this season.
Clinton 002 600 001 3 – 12 21 3
Washington 001 024 110 2 – 11 15 3
White, Claridge (10th) and Benock; Clark, Cunningham (7th), Branz (8th).
HR: (W) Like, (C) Lawson; 3B: (C) Jacobs; 2B: (W) 2 Bedwell, White, Edmiston (C) Rapp, Weyrauch, Lawson.