CLARINDA — Two unearned runs in a four-run third inning proved to be Creston’s downfall in a 4-3 loss to Clarinda Thursday night.
With Creston leading 1-0 in the third inning, the Cardinals struck for four runs on four hits and two Panther fielding errors.
No. 9 hitter J.J. Clark was safe on a drag bunt as sun in first baseman Keaton Hulett’s eyes impeded catching the ball from pitcher Brandon Phipps. Leadoff batter Jordan Johnson then singled, followed by miscommunication on a bunt to load the bases.
Center fielder Dakota Woods, who had a productive game in the field and at bat, pounded a double. Jordan Peterman followed with a run-scoring single.
“Take away those two unearned runs, and we win 3-2,” Creston coach Steve Birchard said. “It’s the kind of thing we’ve been trying to avoid. Sometimes our offense overcomes it. Tonight, they made plays. Their third baseman made nice plays on three sharply-hit balls, and (Woods) had a good night in center.”
Both teams finished with seven hits as each starting pitcher went the distance. Phipps took the loss, despite allowing only two earned runs with four strikeouts and one walk.
Clarinda’s Austin Smith picked up the win with three strikeouts, three walks and two hit batters. Woods offered a lot of support, hitting a triple and double with an RBI.
Trevor Luther continued his hot streak for the Panthers with a pair of hits and Zach Powers, who had two walk-off doubles and a homer in the sweep of Atlantic Tuesday, added another two-base hit.
Clarinda, ninth in the Hawkeye 10, improved to 3-9 in the league and 5-13 overall. Creston remains tied with Denison-Schleswig in fifth place, slipping to 8-8 in the conference and 11-11 overall. Denison lost to Atlantic Thursday, 4-3 in eight innings, while harlan shut out Lewis Central, 10-0.
The Panthers host Council Bluffs St. Albert in JV-varsity action Saturday, beginning at 4 p.m. The Falcons will join the Hawkeye 10 next year.
Creston had strong pitching and timely hitting in defeating the Clarinda JV, 12-2, in four innings.
Starting pitcher Chase Shiltz pitched two no-hit innings with six strikeouts and one walk. Cody Crawford finished with two runs and three hits allowed with four strikeouts and three walks in two innings.
“Shiltz works quickly and he has a good fastball that’s tough for JV hitters,” coach Kyle Wilson said. “Crawford threw strikes. We played sharp all night.”
Brody Frain, Colton Bolinger and Garret Taylor each had two hits for Creston (7-5). Bolinger had a double.
Clarinda 4, Creston 3
R H E
Creston 100 002 0 — 3 7 2
Clarinda 004 000 x — 4 7 0
Cr: Brandon Phipps 4K 1BB and Zach Powers. Cl: Austin Smith 3K 3BB and Brook Stephens. W — Smith. L— Phipps. 3B — Cl: Dakota Woods. 2B — Cr: Powers; Cl: Woods. RBI — Cr: Powers 1, Keaton Hulett 1, Garrett Taylor 1; Cl: Peterman 1, Woods 1, Jordan Johnson 1. Multiple hitters — Cr: Trevor Luther 2; Cl: Woods 2, Peterman 2.