Meridian Star

June 7, 2014

Clarkdale escapes with win

By Drew Kerekes /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — A 6-1 Clarkdale High School lead began to diminish in the top of the seventh inning as Quitman High School began to chip away at the Bulldogs’ advantage.

But 6-4 was as close as Quitman was going to get, as Clarkdale eventually got out No. 3 to secure a victory Friday afternoon in the 1A/2A/3A State Games baseball matchup.

“We’re playing well,” Clarkdale head coach Scott Gibson said. “We’re getting to play a lot of kids right now. We’ve thrown nine different arms the last two days, and we’ve given up four runs, so we’re throwing well. I wish we could’ve finished out a little better there, but in the end we finished out.”

Like Clarkdale, the Panthers coaches were playing a lot of younger players, and new head coach Brian Goodman said he was encouraged by his players not giving up until the final out.

“I saw a lot of encouragement from our kids fighting back and putting the ball in play,” Goodman said. “Good things happen when you put it in play. It’s always good to figure out a way to come back and battle back. You’re not out of a ball game until that third out is made.”

Quitman’s Dawson Denham made it 6-2 Clarkdale in the top of the seventh when he came home on a fielder’s choice groundout. Nathan Skinner followed it up with a run scored on an infield single by Kameron Ware. Julius Perkins scored the final run of the game on an RBI single by Anterio McKines.

Clarkdale took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a fielder’s choice by Brandon Martin. The Bulldogs extended their lead 2-0 in the bottom of the second when Dylan Reeves came in on a wild pitch.

In the top of the third inning, the Panthers’ Carey Horne scored on a fielder’s choice by McKines to cut the Bulldogs’ lead in half, 2-1. But Clarkdale added three more runs in the bottom of the frame when a double by Blake Fuller sent home two runners and Reeves scored on another wild pitch.

A double by Reeves in the bottom of the fifth inning scored Fuller and gave Clarkdale its final run of the game.

Gibson said he’s liked what he’s seen so far from his young squad and hopes they’ll take the next step in their development.

“We know a good bit about them since we only graduated one senior, but we’re seeing what guys can take that next step now instead of just getting some experience last year,” he said.

Goodman, meanwhile, said he’s just starting to set the building blocks as the Panthers’ new head coach.

“Hopefully we have a lot of heart,” he said. “I’m learning them, and they’re learning me. We’re mainly just watching them play a bit, and that’s the fun thing, watching them play and get better each game.”