Jackson baseball team holds on to nip Poplar Bluff 3-2

Friday, April 22, 2011
Jackson shortstop Dylan Koehler chases after a single during the first inning Thursday in Poplar Bluff, Mo. (BRIAN ROSENER ~ Daily American Republic)

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- The Jackson Indians had to wiggle out of some tight spots after taking a one-run lead in the fifth inning Thursday.

Poplar Bluff put the tying run in scoring position in each of the final three innings, but pitchers Bobby Clark and Adam James helped the visiting Indians hold on for a 3-2 win.

"We've been through so many close games the entire year, I can tell we're a lot looser today than we were in one-run games early," Jackson coach Tatum Kitchen said. "We don't play like we've got a noose around our neck like we did at the beginning of the year. We just seemed loose."

Jackson (8-4, 5-2 SEMO) was led by Clark, who was 3 for 3 and earned the win on the mound.

Clark struck out seven and allowed one earned run in six innings. He also helped himself earn the win with an RBI single in the fifth to break a 2-2 tie.

Jackson pitcher Bobby Clark delivers during the second inning Thursday in Poplar Bluff, Mo. (BRIAN ROSENER ~ Daily American Republic)

The Mules (3-7, 1-5) put the tying run in scoring position with nobody out in the fifth and left two runners stranded in both the sixth and seventh innings.

James earned the save by pitching the final inning. After a pair of two-out walks, he got a fly ball to left field to end the game with the tying run at third.

Clark got a pair of ground outs and a strikeout to get out of the jam in the fifth then stopped a two-out rally in the sixth with a ground out.

"Just missed opportunities there late," Mules coach Stan Bullington said. "That's a credit to their pitcher. He's pretty tough."

Jackson jumped on the board in the first after one-out singles by Clark and Laban Petzoldt. Trevor Jaco sent a 1-2 pitch back at the pitcher, who got a glove on the ball but it ricocheted through the right side of the infield, allowing Petzoldt to score for the lead.

The Mules answered with a two-out rally in the bottom of the first. Charlie Kayser and Chance Berry both singled before Clark got Logan Faith to chase a 2-2 pitch in the dirt. Instead of the final out, the dropped third strike allowed a run to score on a throwing error to first base.

Poplar Bluff took a 2-1 lead in the third when Josh King and Kayser got consecutive one-out hits. Faith's two-out RBI single put the Mules on top, but the Indians later threw out Kayser trying to take third for the final out.

Jackson tied it in the next half inning when Clark led off with a single to second on a wild pitch.

Dylan Koehler then doubled to left field to bring home the run.

Faith, who struck out three in 6 1/3 innings for the Mules, got a ground out and a fly out then caught a break after a dropped third strike appeared to extend the inning. Berry's throw to first was late, but Brad Dorr's throw home caught Koehler trying to score for the final out.

A two-out rally in the fifth gave Jackson the lead when a throwing error extended the inning.

Zach McDowell drew a walk, stole second on a wild pitch and moved to third on an error. Clark then smashed a 1-0 pitch past a diving third baseman to give the Indians the lead.

"We always want to put the ball in play," Kitchen said. "That's the biggest thing for us. We're not a juggernaut offensively that's going to put the ball off the wall."

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WP -- Bobby Clark. LP -- Logan Faith. Multiple hits -- Jackson: Clark 3-3; Poplar Bluff: Charlie Kayser 2-3. Records -- Jackson 8-4 (5-2 SEMO), Poplar Bluff 3-7 (1-5)

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