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Clarkdale eliminates L. Star

The 2001 baseball season came to an unhappy end Friday night forthe Loyd Star Hornets. Loyd Star had fell to the Clarkdale Bulldogs5-2 on the road Thursday night and had to win last night to force athird game Saturday.

Loyd Star had the bases loaded with two out when third basemanBlake Wall came to the plate. Wall ripped a hard fly ball that fellinto the waiting hands of Clarkdale right fielder Mark Taylor forthe final out, giving the visiting Bulldogs a tough 4-3 win overthe Hornets in the second game of the first round of the Class 1ASouth State Playoffs.

Loyd Star finishes the season with a 14-13 record. Clarkdaleimproved to 25-67 and advances to the second round next week.

“I thought we had a chance at the end,” said Loyd Star headbaseball coach Anthony Hart after the game.

In the bottom of the ninth, Loyd Star left fielder Deke Purdysingled. With one out, Seth Britt entered the game for the firsttime following a pre-game injury and ripped a hard single past theClarkdale second baseman. Shortstop Chase Coley belted a single toload the bases.

With two outs now, Loyd Star second baseman Jody Britt waswalked by Bulldog reliever Natt Manchen and Purdy scored the thirdrun, cutting the deficit to 4-3 before Wall came to bat.

Seth Britt was hit in the nose while fielding a fly ball just asthe sun came out from behind the clouds and temporarily blindedhim. He went to the hospital and returned in the bottom of thefifth before the Hornets scored two runs and pull within one run,3-2, of the Bulldogs.

The game was deadlocked at 0-0 for the first three innings.Clarkdale opened up with two runs in the top of the fourth for a2-0 lead. Bulldog left fielder Eric Stokes doubled and Milessingled to first on an infield throwing error by Loyd Star thatallowed Stokes and extra base when the ball went over the infieldfence. With two strikeouts, Clarkdale catcher Andy Thomas doubledon an error that allowed Miles to score the second run.

Clarkdale added one more run in the top of the fifth inning on asolo home run by Manchen over the centerfield fence to give theBulldogs a 3-2 lead.

The final run for the Bulldogs came in the top of the sixth.Taylor doubled and Thomas walked. Centerfielder Brandon Maybysingled to score Taylor for the 4-2 lead. With two out, Manchensingled and Taylor tried to steal home plate but Purdy threw theball on target to Hornet catcher Matthew Delaughter at the platefor the tag and big third out of the inning.

The winning pitcher was Andy Thomas (7-0) with three runsallowed on six hits, three strikeouts and three walks. Manchen tookover in the seventh with one strikeout.

“Thomas has done a real good job for us,” said Clarkdale headcoach Roland Gatlin. “We are pleased to have won. Loyd Star playedwell.”

Going the distance for the loss was Cass Brister (5-4) with fourruns allowed on six hits, one strikeout and three walks. Bristeralso singled at bat.

“Cass did a great job for us,” added Hart.

Also singling were Brad Britt and Adam Speeg.

Hart just three seniors on the 2001 team. They are centerfielder Brad Britt, Coley and Purdy.