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Clinton shocked by late game call

Mar. 13—On Monday, the Clinton Lady Horses hosted the West Brunswick Trojans in what would turn out to be a showcase of skill as these teams pitching game carried the match. A controversial double play in seventh leaves the Lady Horses shocked, handing them the loss, 6-5.

Alivia Capps started on the mound for the Lady Horses and made her presence known immediately. The Trojans were unable to get across the plate from strong pitching and quick reactions from the infield. A pitching battle ensued as West Brunswick went right after them, forcing the game to go three innings deadlocked with no runs.

A hiccup in the infield allowed a runner to make it to first after a solid outing, The Horses would recover after a Trojan hit a sac fly ball sending the runner to third. Clinton's strong infield play from third baseman Laila Carter and shortstop Niah Torres, locking up West Brunswick and keeping it deadlocked at zeroes.

In the top of fourth, Capps started out the inning with a strikeout on a quick heater to put Trojans on the offensive. Another errerant throw to first allowed Brunswick to get on the bag, setting up the first run of the contest. West Brunswick hit to shallow right sending a runner home breaking the tie 1-0 off a slow response. Capps and company buttoned up the defense and got final out off weak grounder to Capps who threw it to first, stopping their advance but trailing, 1-0.

At the bottom of the frame, Torres battled back from 1-2 count earning a walk. She'd take advantage of a napping catcher and steal second, putting her in scoring position. Carmella Carlton got a big hit, finding gap between third and the foul line putting her on first. Trojans were an out away from shutting down the threat after shallow pop fly that was caught by their first baseman advancing Torres to the corner. With two outs, the Brunswick pitcher threw a wild one and Torres didn't hesitate and sprinted home to tie things up once more. The inning came to a close on a strikes, leaving two runners stranded on first and second.

The Trojans came out swinging looking to bury the Horses in hits. Brunswick was seeing the ball well and were not letting up, punishing Capps despite the precise placement of her pitches. They's knock three hits out of four batters, one of which resulted in a triple. This setup a solid hit into shallow left that was scooped up quickly but not fast enough to stop the run, giving West Brunswick the lead, 2-1.

This was followed up with another huge hit that cleared the bases leaving one on third, 4-1. A Trojan was caught in a pickle play when she mistimed her run. Capps caught her and ran at her looking for the second out, but the toss to third was off target and the three point lead turned to four as she sprinted home. Brunswick smacked another hit converts to a run. The Lady Horses would band together and finally shut down the Trojans, but the damage had been done, leaving them with a five point deficit, 6-1.

In the bottom of the fifth, Clinton was trying to rally but struggled to make decent contact against the Trojan pitcher. The Lady Horses would find some success and get a runner on the base. Clinton's Emery Johnson would get a huge knock that sent the runner home, shortening the gap to four with two outs. They would get one more hit but ultimately fizzle out, falling on a strikeout with the Trojans still leading, 6-2.

The sixth inning was scoreless for both parties as they both had tightened in their play as West Brunswick fought to hold their lead. There were signs of the Trojans struggles but Clinton couldn't capitalize and Lady Horses continued to fight back, keeping the opposition from crossing home, 6-2.

In the final frame, the Trojans were held down and couldn't get anything going, leaving them just three outs away from putting the final nail in the Horses coffin. Clinton came out hot and shocked the Brunswick pitcher, putting their first three batters in play. The opposing pitcher was shaken and her pinpoint throws were becoming erratic with her unable to find the strike zone.

She'd walk the fourth Clinton batter and the Horses began chipping away bringing them closer to a comeback. The Lady Trojans swap pitchers after the Horses were threatening to send the game into extra innings loading the bases. The new pitcher walked the next batter, sending another Clinton runner home to cut the lead to just two runs after maintaining a decent lead for the last three innings, 6-4. After a sac fly a Clinton runner advanced home and was called out, a questionable ruling that had the home crowd irate as the catcher didn't tag the runner, leaving them still down two runs.

Zoe Morrisey stepped up to the plate and delivered a clutch hit into left field that sent another runner across the plate, bringing the Horses within one at 6-5. The Lady Horses took advantage and advanced to second and third with one out, giving them hope to send the game into extra innings.

Da'niyah Coxum stepped up to the plate, looking to tie things up. She'd smack a deep ball, forcing the center fielder to fall back. The runner at third tagged up and rushed home after she caught the sac fly. The Lady Horses went wild with joy, overcoming a huge deficit and tying it up with still an out remaining to potentially take the victory. However, the home plate umpire called the game, claiming the runner at third left early, resulting in a double play. Coach Micah Brewington quickly addressed the situation while the visitors celebrated their win. They didn't celebrate long though, gave the their good game high fives and left swiftly, the umpires were no where to be seen, leaving the Horses a bad taste in their mouths as they felt the game had been taken from them. Clinton took the loss ending their win streak, 6-5.

After the game, Coach Brewington remained calm and spoke highly of his team's efforts and resilience in the face of adversity, admitting to a slow start and said they had to do better and not leave to the umps. Regarding the final call, he was disappointed with the call and commented.

"The final call was a little iffy, it's getting late out here and it's cold. The umpire's are getting a little rusty. I think he missed that one. Obviously, we needed that one run and she made it. The outfielder threw it to the pitcher, then home, that automatically told me that she had tagged up. If she hadn't she would've had been there a lot earlier, but that's how it goes."

The Dark Horses will host the rest of the week as they face the Mintz Christian Lion on Thursday then the following day, they face the Union Spartans (2-2).

Reach Anthony McConnaughey at amcconnaughey@clintonnc.com, X @SampsonSports or on the Sampson Independent Facebook page