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17 Runs - And Counting

Clinton Red Devil Baseball shows Hanahan how to manufacture runs - and hit homers


Zane McLendon’s grand slam and Zach Fortman’s solo shot as the next batter up blew open Clinton’s game Friday night against the Hanahan Hawks and put the Red Devils in a position this Tuesday night to win their first Baseball State Championship since 1961.

Clinton won 17-3 over the home-standing Hawks.

Leading 9-3 going into the 5th, the Red Devils could smell blood in the water in the form of the mercy rule – a 10-run lead after 5 innings are played means the game is over.  Clinton put up a snowman, in the words of Voice of the Red Devils Buddy Bridges, as they tallied 8 in the top of the 5th. Caleb Taylor, who also hurt the Hawks with his bat, gutted out the win on the mound, ending it by enticing a double play ball from overwhelmed Hanahan.

The Hawks were forced into a do or die situation just the night before by Brookland-Cayce, because of rain delays. Meanwhile, Clinton breezed undefeated through its Upper State bracket, as its bats consistently pounded opponents.

Carson Glenn got Clinton off to a good start on the mound – although both teams showed nerves in the early innings – before giving way to Taylor, who way back in the 1st inning cleared the loaded bases with a 2-out double and staked Clinton to a 3-0 lead – a lead it would never relinquish. Wil Stewart’s 2-out single scored 2 for Clinton and Justin Copeland added a RBI pushing Clinton’s lead to 6-1.

Wilson Wages (hitting .452 on the season) smashed a 2-run home run boosting Clinton to 8-3 in the 4th. Harrison Moore added a sac fly scoring Copeland. Then Clinton left the bases loaded as it posted its 9-3 lead, before the dramatic 5th inning.

Wages started the Clinton 5th with a double and later scored on an errant throw. Clinton loaded the bases with 2 outs while Hawks’ pitchers couldn’t find the plate. Clinton already had sent 9 batters to the plate in the 5th when McLendon launched his rocket, which probably landed somewhere around Folly Beach, with the sacks jammed with Red Devils, the shell-shocked Hawks then surrendered Fortman’s smash on the next at-bat.

Hanahan had the heart of its batting order coming up, needing at least 5 runs to close the gap to 17-8 and avoid the 10-runs-ahead-after-five mercy rule. Caleb Taylor came back out to close it, took a visit to the mound, and then trusted his defense to get the game-ending double play. 

One game away from winning the Class AAA State Championship, Clinton stands at 25-3. Hanahan falls to 26-8 on the season, with its must-win-to-stay-alive game upcoming in Clinton. The good news for Hanahan – they get 2 ½ days’ rest after playing back-to-back. The bad news, their ace can’t pitch and they have to find some way to keep Clinton on the bases. Wil Stewart is the likely starter for Clinton in Tuesday’s 7 p.m. game (times will be announced) – admission at The Complex will be $10, on-line or at-the-gate ticket sales.

A Game 3, if necessary, will be at a neutral site next Saturday.