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Season ends for Dragons

Clinton catcher Zack Webber tags a Campbell County runner well short of home plate during the play-in game at Jaycee Park last Tuesday afternoon.
Blake Sherwood and Luke Perez made their last game at Jaycee Park memorable as the Clinton Dragons edged Campbell County 8-7 last Tuesday in the play-in game for the district tournament.

It did not look good for Clinton early as the Cougars scored three in the first to take the lead.

The Dragons surged into the lead in the bottom of the second when Trey Herrell and Winston Henderson had back-to-back singles. Perez drew a one-out walk to load the bases and Isaiah Murphy reached on an error on a bunt attempt as Herrell and Henderson crossed the plate. Sherwood then stepped up and belted a double to score Perez and Murphy, giving Clinton a 4-3 lead.

The Cougars fought back and scored two runs in the top of the third to reclaim the lead at 5-4.

In the bottom of the third the Dragons tied the game when Chase Lockard reached on a one-out single. He moved up on a base hit by Herrell and scored on an RBI-double by Henderson.

In the bottom of the fourth, Clinton took the 7-5 lead. Murphy drew a leadoff walk and Sherwood hit line drive over the wall in left center.

Campbell County bounced back two runs in the top of the fifth to tie the game.

In the bottom of the sixth, Shea Harber led-off with a bas hit. Peter Souleyrette drew a walk and Herrell reached on an error, allowing Harber to race home for the go-ahead run.

Perez shut the Cougars down in the seventh for the win.

He pitched four innings and allowed two runs on three hits with eight strikeouts.

“We fought through adversity all night. Our guys just kept battling and we found a way to win,” said Matt Byrd, head coach of the Dragons. “We came out and swung the bats. Luke Perez got the job done on the mound.”

Sherwood was 3-4 with a double, home run, and five RBI.

Henderson was 3-4 with a double and an RBI while Herrell was 2-3.

With the win the Dragons advanced to face the number one seed Karns Beavers. The game — originally scheduled for Friday night — was played at Karns on Saturday due to rain.

The chilly and wet morning was not kind to Clinton as Karns won 10-0 in five innings.

Perez led-off the game with a base hit and Sherwood reached on an error with one out to give the Dragons a scoring opportunity in the first inning but a double play erased the threat.

The Beavers scored three unearned runs in the first as the Dragons committed two errors.

Karns scored an unearned run in the second as the Dragons committed two more errors.

The Beavers added a run in the fourth to move ahead 4-0 but Souleyrette made the play of the game, a beautiful diving catch sliding across the saturated turf on a sinking line drive to right.

Karns scored five in the fifth to get the walk-off win.

Herrell got the start and suffered the loss. He went four and two-thirds innings and allowed four earned runs on eight hits.

As a team, Clinton committed five errors.

Perez had their lone hit. They had three base runners in the game — Perez, Sherwood, and Henderson, who reached on a walk in the third.

“Karns is a solid team. They make routine plays, put the ball in play, and put pressure on you. We just couldn’t catch the ball. Trey Herrell pitched a good game and gave us a chance. We just couldn’t make the plays,” Byrd said.

The Dragons fell to Oak Ridge at Karns on Monday night by a score of 7-5.

The Wildcats plated five in the third to go up 5-0. Clinton bounced back with five in the fifth to tie the game. Oak Ridge scored two in the sixth and held on for the win.

“If we cut down on the mistakes and play a complete ballgame, we win. But our guys battled back and made it a game when they could have just given up, so I was proud to see that,” said Byrd.

He said the team would focus on getting stronger and better in the offseason.

“It just takes time. You’ve got to trust the process. We just need to keep working and it’s going to happen. It’s not just going to happen in in one year. We’re a young team and we can only get better,” Byrd said.

Luke Johnson took the loss in relief as he pitched two and a third innings and allowed two earned runs on three hits.

Tyler Davis was 1-4 with a double and two RBI while Sherwood ended his Dragons’ career with a 1-4 performance with an RBI. Perez closed out his prep career by going 1-3 with an RBI.