Chargers kick off Spring Break Tournament with extra-innings loss to Clinton

Published 11:01 pm Monday, March 11, 2019

OXFORD – Extra inning struggles and early miscues plagued Oxford Monday night, losing Clinton 5-3 to close day one of the Oxford Spring Break Tournament.

Errors were an issue early for Oxford. Clinton scored twice in the first inning, however neither would be credited to starting pitcher Eli Wicker. The first error allowed the Clinton runner to get on while the second was due to catching issues, failing to throw out stealing Arrow baserunners. They would commit four errors on the night.

“They had five runs and three of them were unearned. We just made some plays out in the field that weren’t very good, weren’t very smart,” said head coach Chris Baughman. “They put a little pressure on us and we didn’t handle it well early on.”

Despite falling behind 2-0 early, Oxford answered quick, notching two of their own in the bottom of the opening frame. Back-to-back singles by J.R. McClure and Bo Gatlin and a few stolen bases aided by Clinton errors tied the game for Oxford in the bottom of the first. Oxford took the lead for the first time in the third, as Clay Ivory doubled to right center, scoring Sam Bianco who singled to lead off the inning.

A leadoff single in the top of the 5th put the tying run on for Clinton. He would take second on a sacrifice bunt and then score, tying the game on an RBI single.

Left-hander Eli Wicker pitched really well in this one for Oxford. His strikeout curveball was working early, and the variety carried him through the ballgame. His biggest pich of the day came in the top of the sixth, as he struck out a Clinton batter to end the inning, with the go-ahead run on third.

“Eli pitched great. Later in the year I would’ve sent him back out for a seventh, but I cut him off at an 85-88 pitch count,” Baughman said. “He pitched excellent against a really good playoff team.”

Wicker would pitch six innings, giving up just one run on five hits and striking out nine. Dixon Webb came in to close the game, putting away three consecutive batters before struggling in the bonus eighth inning. Clinton put back-to-back runners on with a dropped third strike and a walk, before two RBI singles iced the game.

“What it comes down to is their kids got two ground balls singles through the infield when they had runners in scoring position. We had the same situation a couple times and we just didn’t get it done.

The Charger junior varsity team won 3-2 on a walk off homerun earlier in the day. Oxford varsity plays a doubleheader in the tournament tomorrow, facing Houston at 4:30 p.m. and West Union at 7:00 p.m.