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Tough loss a big boost for Clinton team

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“We needed this game,” said Clinton coach Robert Miller, after his team suffered a 4-3 extra inning loss to Lehman on April 11.  “This game could be a big boost for us down the stretch.”

Miller’s words proved prophetic, as Clinton turned a negative into a huge positive, snapping a three-game losing skid and going on a four-game tear, putting the Governors in third place, behind Walton and Monroe, with a 6-3 record.

For Clinton, the team’s hitting and pitching have emerged at the same time, outscoring opponents 49-3 in the last four games before schools went on spring break.

The flurry started on April 14, at home, as Clinton shutout Alfred E. Smith 10-0, with strong hitting from Joseph Flores (3-for-3, 3 R, 2 RBI’s, 1 double), Harold Fich (2-for-2, 2 RBI’s, 1 double) and Mauricio Matos (2-for-3, 1 R, 2 RBI’s, 1 double) and excellent pitching from Carlos Gerda (5 IP, 2 H, 7 K’s).

The following day, Clinton teed off on Columbus at home, with Flores once again emerging as a star in an 11-1 win.  Flores, a leftfielder, batted 3-for-4, knocking in 3 runs and scoring 3 times himself, helping his team get above the .500 mark for the season.

Clinton proved a force on the road, too, traveling the following day to Alfred E. Smith, where they once again proved too much for their opponents, winning 16-2 off an 8-run offensive flurry in both the 2nd and 4th innings.

While Flores continued to dominate, batting 2-for-3, and scoring 2 runs, Matos emerged the star.  The catcher, who took a break from behind the plate, batted as a designated hitter and delivered, hitting 3-for-4, with a double, while driving in 4 runs.  Glenn Abel was strong from the mound, allowing only 1 hit, and 2 runs, one of which was earned, while striking out 5 in the win.

Clinton never took a day off, traveling the following day, on Thursday, April 17, to Adlai Stevenson, where despite playing four straight games, the Governors never showed any signs of wear and tear, completing the four-game sweep with a 12-0 win. 

Flores and Matos, once again, led their team to victory, with Flores batting 2-for-4, and driving in 3 runs, while Matos went perfect, batting 4-for-4, with 2 doubles, scoring 3 runs and driving in 5 in the rout.

Luis Mendoza continued the string of strong pitching, allowing only 2 hits and picking up 8 K’s in 6 innings of work.

Clinton will try to keep their streak alive when they return from spring break on Monday, April 28, at 4 p.m. against Kennedy.  Despite the Knights’ perfect 9-0 record this season, Miller is confident in his team’s chances.

“We hung in their with Lehman,” Miller pointed out.  “We proved we can hang with the big boys.”

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