Clark pitches gem in Catfish road win

Clinton, Iowa (June 21, 2024)

Owen Clark, (Midland University) pitched maybe his best game of the summer for the Catfish. The second game of a four game road trip took the Catfish to Clinton, Iowa. Thursday night the Catfish looked lethargic in all phases of the game as they took on the Springfield Lucky Horseshoes. The Shoes had an ERA of almost eight yet the Catfish could muster only three hits and two runs.

Friday night in Clinton, the Fish needed a gem from Clark and they got it. Clark has been the most consistent starter for the Fish touting and ERA of 1.80 in 12+ innings. Friday night he matched Clinton starter, Sam George, as both pitchers threw up zeros through five innings of work. Clark’s stat line was 5ip, 7k’s and zero walks. Something he has been focused on recently. “I’ve felt good all summer but it took me a few starts to get really settled in,” said Clark. “I had given up walks in a few starts and it caused my pitch count to go up, tonight my breaking ball was really sharp.”

The game was 0-0 when both starters left the game. Owen Puk pitching in his first game for the Lumberkings gave up the games first runs. JJ Williams (Lee University) singled to center to lead off the inning. He moved to 3rd when Bryce Cannon (SEMO) reached on an error by the Lumberkings second baseman. As the Catfish have done all season they were running. Cannon stole second and Williams ,trotted home with the games first run. After Alex Kowalski (Lincoln Memorial Univeristy) struck out, Lane Crowden (University of Southern Indiana) singled up the middle for an rbi scoring Cannon. Crowden would quickly steal second, his league leading 29th swipe of the season and would go to third on an errant throw by the catcher and then score on a wild pitch and just like that the Catfish were up 3-0 and Clark was in line for the win.

Out of the Bullpen came one of the Killer B’s, Cory Bunselmeyer (University of Illinois). Bunselmeyer was making his 7th appearance and has pitched well. He walked the first batter Womach then struck out Martinez. He walked Ruais and then struck out Jacobs and it looked like he may wiggle out of trouble. But after a double to Cooke and a single to Grout and just like that the game was knotted once again 3-3 after six.

Clinton brought in Seimsen to replace Puk and he walked Malott (Purdue) to lead off the inning. He quickly stole second and went to third on the second throwing error by the catcher. Henley Parker (Jefferson College) then drew a walk followed by the teams hottest hitter Brooks Kettering (SEMO). Kettering singled to center scoring Malott and the Catfish were up 4-3. Clinton then went back to their bullpen for Weissenbe. He quickly got JJ Williams to hit into a fielders choice as Parker was thrown out at home for the first out of the inning but Kettering ended up at 3rd and Williams to second. The next batter Bryce Cannon would then hit a two rbi single to right field scoring both runners. After Kowalski struck out, Crowden reached safely on a throwing error by the shortstop and Cannon came around to score and the Catfish went into the bottom of the 7th up 7-3.

Bunny went back out to pitch the 7th and he struck out the first hitter but Peterson singled to left. He quickly picked off Peterson and then got Womack to strike out looking to end the inning. In the 8th Walker Brodt (Winthrop), another one of the Killer B’s would enter the game. Brodt was making his 7th appearance and has been very good out of the bullpen this summer. Martinez greeted Brodt with a gap shot and was trying to advance to third but Wes Gingerich(Purdue) hosed him at third for out number one. Brodt then struck out Ruais and got Jacobs to line to center and the Catfish were still up 7-3 entering the 9th.

The Catfish failed to add any insurance in the top of the 9th and out came Brodt to try and get the save for the Fish. It hasn’t been easy for the Catfish closing out games and when Brodt walked the first batter it looked like we could be in for another nail biter. Brodt quickly struck out Grout but hit the next batter Thein to put runners on first and second with one out. Back to back wild pitches and the Catfish were clinging to a 7-4 lead and the Lumberkings had a runner at 3rd with one out. Out came head coach Phil Butler to settle down Brodt. After a quick mound visit, Brodt struck out Timmons looking and got Peterson to ground out to third and the Catfish held on for road win.

The Killer B’s did their job once again out of the bullpen for the Catfish. Bunselmeyer got the vulture win as they say and Brodt gets his third save of the season but it was Owen Clark who deserves the spotlight and the handshakes for this win. The Catfish stay in Clinton and face the Lumberkings again tonight. Game time is 6:35pm.