The York Cougars scored three runs in the sixth inning to break open a tie game and defeat rival Clover Blue Eagles 6-4 on Senior Night Friday at York.
The Cougars finished the season winning their last two games and Scott Kiggans needed a few minutes to collect his emotions after his last game as York head coach.
“These guys never quit,” Kiggans said. “They never quit working. We had a rough stretch there and they came to work every day. We finished the season on two wins and I’m proud of them for not quitting and never stopping.”
Junior Ryan Gilbert led the way, pitching seven innings and striking out six while not allowing a walk en route to yielding four runs. He also had a two-out RBI base hit to right field to score the final run in the decisive sixth.
“Ryan pitched exactly the way we needed him to pitch tonight,” Kiggans said. “He was on his game, he was ready for it. He wanted the baseball. He just threw on Tuesday and told me on Wednesday he wanted it again on Friday. So I said okay.”
The Blue Eagles got on the board first in the second when Zane Van Hook led off with a double to right and scored on Chase Galant’s sacrifice fly to right. Clover would load the bases with one out, but Gilbert got a strikeout and pop fly to right to escape further damage.
York failed to register a hit until ninth batter and senior Austen Clinton’s two-out base hit in the third. It was contagious as fellow senior RayRay Ellis, Adam Hoffman and John Moorefield all followed with hits to put the Cougars up 3-1. Hoffman’s single to center scored Clinton, and after a balk, Moorefield went back up the middle to plate Ellis and Hoffman. Ellis had himself a third inning as his diving stab of Corey Parham’s sinking liner in center had prevented a run from scoring in the previous half of the inning.
Clover knotted things up 3-3 in the fifth. Davis McCarter had a one-out triple to left center and scored on Barrett Courtwright’s single to right center. Van Hook’s base hit to center drove home Jimmy Marcelli, who had been hit by a pitch, but Ellis threw out Courtwright at home to keep the game tied.
In the Cougars’ half of the sixth, Moorefield, who went 2 for 3, started the rally with a one-out infield single. Will Prince followed with another infield single. And with two outs, Harrison Childers smacked a base hit to left that got by the left fielder, allowing Moorefield and Prince to score and put the home team back in front. Gilbert would bring in Childers with his single to right to make it 6-3.
The Blue Eagles strung together three straight hits with one out in the seventh to threaten, scoring a run as Courtwright’s RBI base hit to left brought in McCarter. However, Van Hook grounded into a 6-4-3 double play with the tying runs on base to end the game. McCarter was 2 for 4 as was Van Hook. Courtwright was 3 for 4 with two RBIs and struck out eight with no walks in six innings.
Ryan Gilbert. Barrett Courtwright. WP - Gilbert. LP - Courtwright. 2B - Zane Van Hook, Courtwright (CL). 3B - Davis McCarter (CL). Leading hitters: YCHS - John Moorefield 2-3, RBI, R. CL - Courtwright 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI; McCarter 2-4, 3B, 2 R; Van Hook 2-4, 2B, RBI, R. Records: YCHS 7-11, 3-11 Region 3-AAAA; Clover 12-9, 6-8.