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Clay County Links - - John Wilson's Homepage
Reprinted from the Manchester Enterprise

Clay County Little League All-Star Baseball 2004

Reprinted from July 1, 2004

Clay rolls to Area 2 title

All-Stars advance to District 4 Tournament at South London

Clay County’s 11-12 Little League All-Stars (3-0) humbled Jackson County 19-1 to claim the Area 2 Tournament championship at South London Little League Complex Monday. The locals grabbed a 4-0 lead,in the top of the first then scored nine runs In the second for a 13-1 advantage and coasted from there. Starter John Wilson (1-0) settled down after allowing a single and double to the first two Jackson County batters he faced but didn’t surrender another hit in four innings of work. He recorded five strikeouts and walked two.

Tyler Young (2B) started the game off with a walk and two outs later Brandon Griffin walked. Tanner Gilbert (3B), Josh England (CF) and catcher C. J. Miller then delivered run scoring hits. Zack McCeorge (1W) singled to begin the Clay second then Young and Wilson reached via bases on balls. Todd McDaniel (55) cleared the bases with an inside-the-park grand slam for an 8-1 lead.

Gilbert and Miller were each 4-4 in the win. Gilbert scored four times. Josh England was 3-3 with a walk. Wilson went 2-3. McDaniel was 2-4. McGeorge and pinch-hitter John Hooker were each 1-2. Jonathan Smallwood (LF) was 0-1 with a walk. Young walked in each of his four plate appearances. Cory Corum was 0-2 but scored twice as a pinch-runner. Clay now advances to the winner’s bracket of the District 4 Tournament which will be played at the South London field.

The eight-team double-elimination tournament could start as early as this Saturday but more likely Monday, July 5th. The tournament will feature four unbeaten teams and four teams with one loss each. Here is a recap of Clay County’s previous Area 2 games.

Clay County 9 - Corbin 1

Clutch defensive plays, strong pitching and a long ball proved prominent in the win. Two inning-ending putouts on bang-bang plays at home plate (catcher John Wilson to pitcher Brandon Griffin) thwarted potential big innings for Corbin and allowed Clay County to keep the game close until two runs crossed in the top of the fourth to break a 1-1 tie.

Clay broke the game open in the fifth inning scoring six times, highlighted by a two-run homer by Tanner Gilbert over the left field fence on a 3-1 pitch. The first of the two close tags at home plate came in the second inning with no score, bases loaded and two outs and Corbin’s leadoff batter, Ben House at the plate with a 2-1 count. Griffin’s pitch went wide of the plate but Wilson got to the ball quickly as the runner at third tried to score and flipped to Griffin who applied the tag amongst a cloud of dust. A similar scenario played out in the third with the score 1-1 as Griffin took the throw from Wilson to tag a sliding runner and end a threat.

Clay took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Jonathan Smallwood walked and pinch runner Cory Corum moved to third on successive two out walks to Tyler Young and Wilson. Corum scored after a pick off attempt by the pitcher went into centerfield. Corbin left fielder Josh Hopkins doubled in the bottom of the third to score Ben House and tied the game at 1. In the fourth, Clay went up 2-1 on back-to-back doubles by Gilbert and Josh England. One out later England moved to third on a bunt by Corum then scored Cay’s third run after a sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter John Hooker. England went 3-4; Corum was 2-2 with two bunt singles; Young and Gilbert were each 2-3 and two RBIs apiece; Griffin was 2-4 with two RBIs; Wilson 1-3 and Todd McDaniel was 1-4. Griffin (1-0) allowed Corbin just four hits over six innings but did walk seven. The right hander fanned 13.

Clay County 13 - South London 0

Todd McDaniel (1-0) pitched a four-hit shut out and shortstop Brandon Griffin played long ball to help lead the locals to the win over the defending Area 2 champs.. Griffin, the cleanup hitter, and first baseman Josh England each went 4-4 with three and two RBIs, respectively. Griffin scored four times and drove in three runs, two on a home run in the first inning. McDaniel was 3-4, including a double and a triple, and five RBIs. Catcher John Wilson was 3-3, including a triple, walked once and scored three runs.

Lead off hitter Tyler Young (2B) was 2-3 with a walk and scored three runs. Third baseman Tanner Gilbert had a run scoring single in four trips. McDaniel faced 19 batters, striking out seven and didn’t walk a batter. First baseman Ryan Grill and third baseman Kody Baker each went 2-2 for South.

Reprinted from July 8, 2004

Clutch hitting nets win

Clay County (4-0) defeated the Hazard-Perry County All-Stars 8-3 in the first winner’s bracket semifinal game of the double-elimination District 4 Baseball Tournament at South London Field Tuesday. Clay scored three runs in each of the first two innings to lead 6-0 before the game was delayed for 30 minutes because of lightening with Hazard batting in the top of the third.

Starter Brandon Griffin fanned the games first batter then hit the next batter. But he got out of trouble with a Tyler Young (2B) to Todd McDaniel (SS) to Josh England (1B), 4-6-3, double play. Young (2-3) and catcher John Wilson (2-3) began Clay’s first inning with singles then Hazard ace Eric Ison struck out the next two Clay batters. Tanner Gilbert (3B) then hit a 2-1 pitch over the left centerfield fence for a three-run homer.

Griffin got out of a two-on one-out jam in the second, thanks to a nice pick up by Young at second and a strikeout. C. J. Miller (CF) singled to begin Clay’s second then one out later, Zach McGeorge (RF) singled to left. Young followed with a walk to load the bases and Wilson fouled out to the catcher. McDaniel then delivered a three-run triple for a 6-0 lead just before the lightening show.

Clay added two more runs in the fifth when Wilson led off with a walk but was forced on a grounder by McDaniel. Griffin doubled home McDaniel and Cory Corum came on to run for Griffin. After a walk to Gilbert, Corum scored on a single by Josh England (1B). Griffin entered the fifth with a no-hitter but Hazard touched the right hander for three runs on four hits. Griffin retired the side 1-2-3 in the sixth to close out the game.

Reprinted from July 15, 2004

Clay tops Rock 3-1

Victory gives Clay’s Little League All-Stars third District 4 Title in four years

Clay County (6-0) pulled out a 3-1 win over Rockcastle County Sunday to win the double-elimination District 4 Little League Baseball Tournament Championship behind a strong pitching performance by Brandon Griffin, timely hitting and solid defensive play. It’s the third time in the last four seasons the Clay County Little League All-Stars have earned their way to the Kentucky Little League State Baseball Tournament.

Coach Todd McDaniel’s squad swept through the Area 2 and District 4 Tournaments at South London and will now travel to Campbellsville to play in the state tournament July 16-21. After topping Hazard-Perry County 8-3 in last Tuesday’s district winners bracket semifinal game; Clay’s Todd McDaniel shutout Rockcastle County 10-0 in four innings to take Friday’s winners bracket final to be the tournament’s only unbeaten team.

Rockcastle edged host South London 2-i on Saturday to win the losers bracket flnal.for the right to meet Clay in Sunday’s championship game. "We are glad to be going back to the state tournament and this team should be competitive," said McDaniel. "I still think we can play better than we have been. I don’t know how things will come out but (the competition) will know that we’ve been there," he added.

Here is a recap:

Championship game - Clay County 3 - Rockcastle County 1

Brandon Griffin and Roçkcastle’s B. A. Burkhart hooked up for a great pitching dual in this one. Clay threatened in the #1 first inning but came up empty. Tyler Young singled to start the game and John Wilson followed with a fly ball that the center fielder just missed catching but the throw to second forced Young. Todd McDaniel reached first after being hit by a pitch (the first of two bean balls) but the next two batters were retired.

Rockcastle grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Josh Saylor (SS) led off the bottom of the inning with a double to right field, moved to third on a groundout, then scored on a one-out grounder off the bat of pitcher B. A. Burkhart. Clay grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth when C. J. Miller (CF) and went to third a throwing error. One-out later Josh England (1B) singled to right to tie the game then scored on a single by Jonathan Smallwood (LF).

Clay missed an opportunity to add to their lead in the fifth when catcher John Wilson led off with a triple but was left stranded. In the Rock fifth, Griffin fanned the first two batters but gave up a single to the number eight batter then went 3-0 on the number nine hitter. However, the right hander rebounded and got the batter swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Clay got an insurance run in the sixth when Smallwood doubled off the left field fence with two outs And came around to score on a drive to the right field fence by Cory Corum (RF) on a 1-2 pitch. Trailing 3-1 in their last at bat, Josh Saylor got the Rocket fans fired up with an infield single to start the sixth. However, Griffin fanned the next batter for out number one.

After Saylor advanced to second on a wild pitch, McDaniel called for an intentional walk to the powerful left handed batter B. A. Burkhart (his late two-run home run was the difference in Rocks 2-1 win over South London the day before). With right handed cleanup hitter Todd Childress at the plate representing the potential game-winning run, Griffin threw a fast ball over the outside corner of the plate that Childress tried to pull. He grounded sharply to shortstop Todd McDaniel who fielded quickly and alertly tagged the foot of a dodging Saylor, who was going to third. After the tag.

McDaniel flipped to second baseman Young for the bang-bang force to end the game. Griffin (3-0) faced just 22 batters. He allowed four hits, walked two and struck out seven. Burkhart fanned nine and walked three.

Clay County 10 - Rockcastle County 0

Todd McDaniel (2-0) fired a one-hitter and center fielder C. J. Miller high-lighted the offense with a two-run homer in a seven-run second inning as Clay County took the winners bracket final in four innings. Clay’s Tyler Young opened the bottom of the first inning with a sharp single to left then John Wilson doubled over the head of the left fielder and both runners eventually scored for a 2-0 lead. Young went 2-2 with a walk and scored three runs. Wilson was 2-3 with four RBIs. McDaniel, Brandon Griffin and Miller each went 1-2 with a RBI. McDaniel struck out five and walked one.

Reprinted from July 15, 2004

Clay Advances to State Semis

Clay County came within just one win from a spot in the 2004 Kentucky Little League State Championship game at Campbellaville’s Miller Park. When the state tournament began eight teams were in pursuit of the baseball championship, and Clay County, joined Louisville Valley Sports, Owensboro Southern and Campbellsville in the final four.

Clay wrapped up the second seed in Pool B by virtue of Clay’s 5-4 win over Campbellsville. Here is a recap of Clay’s three pool games.

Game One - Clay County 5 - Campbellsville 4

Clay County (7-0) jumped to a 3-0 lead then turned back a late rally by the home team to win their Pool B opener. Center fielder C. J. Miller and first baseman Josh England had back-to-back singled to begin the top of the second inning putting runners on the corners. Third baseman Zach McGeorge followed with a walk to load the bases but The next two batters fanned. However, second baseman Tyler Young delivered a clutch two-out single to centerfleld, the second of his three hits on the day as Clay went ahead 2-0.

ShortstopTodd McDaniel grounded a one-out single to centerfield in the third and scored on a two-out hit by Miller for a 3-0 lead. Campellsville loaded the bases with one out before Dustin Graves singled down the line in right field but John Hooker made a nice stop and got the ball into the infield quickly holding runners on the corners after had two crossed the plate.

Starter Brandon Griffin got cleanup hitter Dallas Gribbons to pop to Young at second then Bryton Taylor grounded sharply to England at first, who made a nice stop, to get Griffin out of trouble. McGeorge started the fourth with a walk and one out later, Hooker reached on a fielders choice bringing up Young with two outs. The lefthanded batter delivered again, belting a double past the right fielder, scoring pinch runner Cory Corum. Catcher John Wilson followed with a single up the middle, scoring Young for a 5-2 lead.

Griffin gave up a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning but retired the next three batters in order to keep the 5-2 lead. Clay was retired 1-2-3 in the fifth. Griffin got the leadoff batter Jeffrey Eastridge on strikes to start the fifth but Tyler Yates reached on an error by England. Griffin then fanned the number-three batter, Dustin Graves, bringing up Gribbons.

On and 0-2 pitch, Gribbons went down and got a low fast ball and crushed it over the centerfield fence to pull the home team within 5-4. Taylor then grounded sharply to England at first to end the inning. Clay again went down 1-2-3 in the sixth but not without some excitement. With one out, left fielder Jonathan Smallwood smacked a 1-1 pitch long enough for a home run but the ball went foul past the left field foul pole by about five feet.

In the home sixth, Griffin retired Becca Cook on a grounder to England then struck out Levi Smith. But Aaron Schwoebel singled to center bringing up the number-nine hitter in the order, Kyle Caulk. On a 1-2 pitch, Caulk hit a fairly deep fly bail to left field that Smallwood back-peddled on and caught to end the game. Griffin (4-0) allowed six hits, struck out six and walked two in picking up the victory.

Game Two - Clay County 2 - Lexington Eastern 0

Clay County ace Todd McDaniel (3-0) turned in a brilliant performance firing a one-hitter against the District 3 champions. McDaniel also drove in Clay’s two runs with a two-out single through The middle of the infield in the third. The right hander struck out 12 and didn’t a batter.

Eastern’s Sam Carney also turned in a fine game allowing Clay just five hits while walking four. He fanned nine. Clay scored their two runs in the top of the third when Zach McGeorge led off with a walk then two outs later, Tyler Young and John Wilson walked to load the bases with pinch runner Cory Corum on third. McDaniel then dribbled a grounder up the middle just out of the reach of the diving shortstop Bobby Klinikin.

Clay got singles by Corum, Young and Griffin in the fifth but the inning ended with Corum being tagged out at the plate. McGeorge added a two-out single in the sixth. McDaniel struck out seven of the last eight batters he faced. A line drive caught by center fielder C. J. Miller for the second out of the sixth inning snapped a string of six straight strikeouts.

Game Three - Louisville Valley Sports 11 - Clay County 1

Errors, poor base running and lack of timely hitting put Clay in a hole theywere unable to climb out of. Of Valley Sports 11 runs, only six were earned. Starter John Wilson, Clay’s No.3 starter, got no help from his defense and surrendered three runs in the top of the first thanks to two errors on routine ground balls. In Clay’s first at bat, Tyler Young (a-a with a walk) opened the inning with a double over the head of the left fielder. He later scored on a two-out single by Brandon Griffin for Clay’s only run. Clay stranded six runners in the five-inning game.

C. J. Miller, Josh England and Jonathan Smallwood each had a single for a total of six hits. Young relieved Wilson in the second with Clay trailing 7-1. Valley Sports had eight hits and seven runners walked.

Reprinted from July 15, 2004

What a week in sports!

My Two Cents by Joe Burchell


Our local athletes have been on some kind of run the last ten days or so, winning a national basketball championship and making a serious run at a state baseball crown. Friday afternoon James Burchell’s Manchester Magic put the finishing touches on a remarkable run for the Girls AAU Division II National Basketball Championship when they upset the Connecticut Starters 43-37 to take the title.

Clay County’s Little League All-Stars earned their way into the final four of the Kentucky Little League State Baseball Tournament in Campbellsville. Our Little League all-stars posted a 5-4 pset of tourney host Campbellsville Saturday night then shutout Lexington Eastern 2-0 on Sunday. But on Monday night Todd McDaniel’s squad, likely battling a case of nervousness, did not play well in dropping an 11-1 decision, their first loss of the season, to Louisville Valley Sports.

The locals played Owensboro Southern in first state semifinal game with Valley Sports facing Grayson.

Clay County lost to Owensboro Southern who went on to win the Kentucky state tournament and the Great Lakes Regional in Indianapolis to advance to the 2004 Little League World Series.

A Hugh Fan

I would be hard to argue with the choice of Howard Rogers being the Clay County Little League All-Stars' biggest supporter other than a player's parent of family member. Rogers, who is 79, hasn't missed a game during the all-star season. On Sunday, he drove, alone, to Campbellsville to watch the game but did get a volunteer driver on the return trip to Manchester by Russell Wolfe. Rogers has been a baseball fan for many years, in particular when his grandson Tim Rogers played for Clay County's 1990 Little League State runner-up team.

The squad send thanks to supporters

The 11-12 all-stars send their most sincere thanks to the following supporters: Vernon and Dennis Hacker, The Manchester Police Department, Mayor Daugh White, City of Manchester, Clay County Little League, Quarterback Club, Cornett’s Chevrolet, First National Bank, National City Bank, Freddy Thompson, Circuit Clerk, Ray D. Bowling, Senator Robert Stivers, Russell and Jocelyn Wolfe, Dobson & Keith, Manchester Lumber Company, Dr. Edwards, Manchester Memorial Hospital, Colson’s BP, Young & Sons Trusses, The Manchester Enterprise, Pizza Pro, J.J. Tobacco Barn and Subway of Manchester.

Clay County Links - - John Wilson's Homepage