Dragons win home opener

  • Clinton High School baseball skipper Rob Stacy exchang- es lineup cards at the beginning of the Dragons’ home opener against Maryville Christian High School Monday night. The Dragons were competitive in two previous games — although both were losses — but were finally able to return to the planned season schedule and to win- ning with a 2-1 home opener victory. - Ken Leinart

  • Clinton’s Nik Kidd delivers the first pitch in the Dragons’ home opener for a strike Monday night. - Ken Leinart

The 2023 high school baseball season is only a little more than a week old and Mother Nature has already thrown local teams a few curve balls.

Clinton High School had a busy week scheduled, but the Dragons played only two games, as inclement weather plagued the East Tennessee area.

Monday evening, however, the Dragons’ home opener went according to plan with sunny, if chilly, weather and a 2-1 win over Maryville Christian.

CHS (1-2) opened the week and the 2023 campaign with a 6-0 loss to Sullivan East on Wednesday, March 15, in Bluff City.

Despite seeing his team come up on the wrong side of a seemingly lopsided shutout, Dragons Coach Rob Stacy said he was pleased with his squad’s effort in Northeast Tennessee.

“East is a good team and they went to the state in (Class) AAA last year,” Stacy said. “We competed. We kicked the ball around a little bit.

“But we competed and we competed well. I think the stage was just a little too big for our young guys.”

Clinton pitcher Dallas Beets had a solid effort to open the season. The right-hander went five innings in his debut. He gave up six runs (four earned), six hits and two walks, while striking out four.

“I was really pleased with Dallas Beets and the way he pitched,” Stacy said.

The Dragons managed just one hit against the Patriots, a single by Jacob Stillner.

Clinton was slated to open the District 4-AAA portion of its schedule at Scott on Saturday.

Inclement weather forced the twin bill to be rescheduled for Tuesday, March 21. Results were not available at press time.

The Dragons, however, were on the diamond as they were able to pick up a late game at Sevier County.

Clinton dropped a 10-5 decision in the late-afternoon tilt against the Smoky Bears in Sevierville. Sevier County darted out to an early lead as it broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the bottom of the second inning.

From there, the Smoky Bears never trailed as they tallied four more runs in the third. They added a single run in the fourth and two more in the sixth.

The Dragons tallied once in the sixth and came up with a big inning in the top of the seventh, plating four runs in the frame.

Clinton had seven hits in the contest.

Isaiah Slaven went 3-for-4 while Stillner went 1-for-3 with a double, a run scored and three RBIs.

Jayce Mack went 1-for-3 with a double and a run.