Barrett Courtwright pitched eight innings and only allowed one run, in the first inning, as the Clover Blue Eagles came from behind and defeated the York Cougars 3-1 in extra innings on Senior Night Friday night at York.
Courtwright went the distance plus an inning and scattered eight hits while striking out six and walking two.
The tying run was unearned for the Blue Eagles and their final two runs were walked in.
"We didn't get the breaks early and we finally got one and ended up scoring that run," Clover coach Hank Wofford said. "What a job by Barrett tonight. A senior, last opportunity to pitch for the Clover Blue Eagles. I said I can't take him out. He's a senior and it's his game to win or lose."
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Herald
Clover finished their season at 12-11 and 6-6 in Region 3-4A, while the Cougars will travel to J.L. Mann Thursday for the first round of the playoffs. Both programs have made huge strides this year with new coaches after being picked near the bottom of the region in the preseason.
"We told our kids yesterday in practice, what an opportunity on Friday to go down to our rivals at York and make a statement," Wofford said.
"We've got plenty of guys that can keep the leadership going for this program," Courtwright said.
The Blue Eagles broke through to tie things up at one in the seventh, with a little help from their hosts. Jimmy Marcelli led off with a fly ball to center that was dropped by Shandon Cobb for a two-base error. Kaleb Strader followed with a bunt that moved Marcelli to third. John Moorefield got Landon Harkey looking at a third strike but threw a wild pitch that allowed Marcelli to score the tying run.
York was unable to get anything going in the home seventh and the game went to extra innings.
In the Clover eighth, Justin Adams doubled deep down the right field line with one out. Cody Payne followed with an infield hit and Cole Hybarger walked to load the bases. Ryan Gilbert came on to pitch in relief of Moorefield, who went 7 1/3 innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits, while striking out three and walking one.
Gilbert walked Noah Lindsay to force in Adams and put the Blue Eagles up 2-1. After Landon Harkey struck out swinging for the second out, Kaleb Strader drew a walk to bring Payne home for a 3-1 lead.
"The loss hurts because it's a loss to your rival," York coach Eddie Tisdale said. "But it's a little bit better because we get to practice Sunday and play Thursday. I've got to give Hank a lot of credit. York and Clover were picked in the basement this year. Trust me, he will be in the playoffs before you know it."
York loaded the bases in the eighth. Cobb led off with an infield hit. After a groundout and strike out, Adam Hoffman walked and Harrison Childers singled to load the bases. Courtwright got Will Prince to ground back to him and he ran it to first for the final out.
Aaron Harper led off the bottom of the first with an infield hit and reached second on a throwing error by the third baseman. Patch Edwards bunted him to third and Hoffman's line drive to left made it 1-0 York. That would hold up until the seventh.
Courtwright pitched out of jams several times.
Moorefield doubled to the fence in left with one out in the home second, but he was stranded on there.
Edwards tripled to right with two outs in the York third, but was caught trying to steal home to end the inning. He broke for home after the catcher paused hoping for a third-strike call and then threw back to Barrett Courtwright. Courtwright allertly threw back home and nailed the sliding Edwards, who hurt his ankle and had to leave the game. His status is unclear for the playoffs.
Childers doubled down the left-field line with one out in the York fourth and Prince followed with a single to right. Courtwright then got his opposite number Moorefield to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
In the Clover sixth, Payne bunted for a one-out base hit. Hybarger bunted him into scoring position, but Moorefield got Garrett Goldberg looking to end the threat.
Clover 3 York 1
Barrett Courtwright. John Moorefield and Ryan Gilbert. WP - Courtwright. LP - Moorefield. 2B - Justin Adams (CL), Moorefield and Harrison Childers (YCHS). 3B - Patch Edwards (YCHS). Leading hitters - CL: Noah Lindsay BB, RBI; Kaleb Strader 1-2, SAC, BB, RBI; Cody Payne 2-3. YCHS: Edwards 3B, SAC; Adam Hoffman RBI, BB; Childers 2-4, 2B. Records: Clover 12-11, 6-6 Region 3-4A; York 11-6, 6-6.