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By David Sharp
Two solid baseball teams with equally strong records faced off in the final scheduled regular season contest at Knox County. Clark County (17-7) put three first inning runs on the board. Knox County (15-6) held the Indians scoreless the rest of the day for a 5-3 win.
Carter Briscoe and Collin Hunziker drew walks off Knox County starter Rylan Roberts leading off the contest. Gabe Howe stroked a two RBI double for a 2-0 lead. Koy Nixon drew a two out error for the third Indian run and a 3-0 first inning advantage.
Knox County second baseman Cooper Clair drew a leadoff walk from Clark County hurler Gabe Howe. The Indian lefty fanned Knox County all state candidate Robert Dooley to end the inning without a KC run scored.
Caleb Nelson doubled leading off the Clark County second inning. Carter Briscoe lined a single to center field. Tyson Gilbert fired to Robert Dooley, cutting down the runner for out number one. Drew Holsted walked with two out.
Rylan Roberts won a battle with Indian cleanup batter Gabe Howe for the final out with no runs allowed. Blake Parish singled leading off the KCHS second inning. Parrish scored on a wild pitch. Gabe Howe struck out the side to end the inning with Clark County leading by the 3-1 margin.
Tristen Pitford broke a streak of two straight strikeouts with a two out hit. Rylan Roberts fanned his fifth man of the day to end the inning.
Rylan Roberts started off a four run third Eagle inning with a one out hit. Braxton McCurren reached base on an error. Robert Dooley walked. Blake Parrish struck a two run single.
Kellen Parrish put the ball in play, resulting in another KCHS run. Landon McCarty delivered a two out RBI hit for the 5-3 lead after three complete innings.
Clark County threatened in their fifth inning. The Indians filled the bases, starting with Matt Miller stroking a two out single. Koy Nixon walked then Tristen Pitford was hit by a pitch.
Rylan Roberts struck out the final batter of the CC fifth, leaving the bases loaded with no scoring. The teams kept battling. Braxton McCurren led off the Knox County fifth with a hit.
Indian reliever Drew Holsted induced a ground ball back to the mound. Gabe Howe made a nice snag at first base, keeping McCurren stranded on third base with no scoring.
“Blake (Parrish) came in on two slow rolling balls and made good running throws,” Knox County coach David Cameron said. “That’s something we practice. He has been good at it for a long time,” Coach Cameron said when asked about the fine defensive seventh inning.”
“Kellen (Parrish) did his job and got ground out rollovers, just the way he always does. Kellen has been god for us all year. He backed up an outstanding job by Rylan Roberts. That’s probably as well as I have seen Rylan pitch,” David Cameron said.
“We went through a little adversity. That first inning was a little rocky for us,” Coach Cameron said. “He settled in and was as good as you will see in Northeast Missouri,” Cameron said of Rylan Robert’s performance.
Caleb Nelson singled leading off the CC sixth inning. Collin Hunziker doubled. Tyson Gilbert started another relay play, retiring Nelson on a very close play at third for the first out of the sixth inning.
Rylan Roberts kept the Indians off the board again for a 5-3 Eagle lead after six complete innings. Rylan Roberts reached his pitch limit after inducing Gabe Howe to ground out to second base.
Rylan Roberts closed a stellar baseball career, on his home field that is pitching six and a third innings of eight hit, three run baseball with nine strikeouts and three walks. Roberts allowed three runs, two earned.
Kellen Parrish took over on the mound Parrish faced two batters, inducing two straight grounders to the infield for the save. Those three plays ended a great baseball game with outstanding defense.
Clark County scored three runs on eight hits and two errors. Gabe howe pitched the first three innings striking out five batters on four hits and three walks. Two of the five runs charged to Howe were earned.
The Indians had good production up and down their batting order. Tristen Pitford was 2-2 at the plate. Caleb Nelson went 2-3 at bat. Gabe Howe had a hit and two RBI’s. Drew Holsted went three innings of shutout ball, striking out five with one walk.
Knox County scored five runs on four hits and two errors. Blake Parrish was 2-3 for the Eagles with two runs scored and two driven in. Kellen Parrish earned a KCHS RBI.
“I thought we got off to a good start,” Clark County coach Jerry Jerome said. “We get a three spot.”
“We get a guy thrown out at third base. I’m not going to criticize the umpires, but that was a leadoff with our 1-2-3 guys coming up. That’s probably on me,” Jerry Jerome said. “I got a little bit greedy right there.”
“As the game went on, we just didn’t hit the baseball. You probably have to say that was because of Rylan (Roberts). He threw really well,” Coach Jerome said. “He had just enough on the fastball to make that curve ball go really well.”
“They kept plugging away. Their second baseman (Cooper Clair) made two bit time plays. Those were hits,” Jerry Jerome said. “If those go through you never know what will happen.”
“Just tip your cap to Knox and we go on. It wasn’t a district game. We are just trying to get better and position ourselves for the districts. I’m glad we came down and played Knox. They are always good. For eleven players, they are a (Heckuva) Team,” Jerome said.