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Starkville drops close decision to Yazoo City

 

Matthew Stevens

 

STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School baseball coach Brian Jones couldn't ask much more of his starting pitcher Tanner Clanton - except for maybe the junior right-hander to get help from his friends. 

 

Clanton held a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings but received the loss after a devestating 2-1 defeat to Yazoo City at home Friday night. 

 

Being one out away from a home-and-home sweep against SHS, Yazoo City used back-to-back hits in the seventh inning to steal the road win at Danny Carlisle Field.  

 

Yazoo City second baseman Ralph Jones drove in Willie Harris to ruin what was a dominating pitching outing for Clanton. 

 

"When you only give up two hits you're supposed to win, bottom line," Starkville coach Brian Jones said. "We pitched great and played pretty soundly on the defensive side. It's just sometimes you have to be able to hit, you have to be able to score some runs. That just didn't happen tonight." 

 

Clanton, who already had a no-hitter as a highlight to his 2013 season on Feb. 24 against Greenville-Weston, dominated the Yazoo City lineup with seven of his 11 strikeouts in the first four innings of the contest. 

 

The Yellow Jackets inability to give its pitcher a respectable cushion clearly bothered Jones after the loss after he got exactly what he wanted on the mound as Starkville opened district play this weekend. 

 

SHS got three hits from Clanton to lead the offense to a 8-4 victory at Yazoo City Tuesday night. 

 

"I'm not going to sit here and lie to you and tell you I'm not frustrated and disappointed, but that's something I have to deal with myself," Jones said Friday night. "I have to be able to tell these guys its just one game and we have to bounce back. That's the thing about baseball you can't sit there and dwell on it for a week or so. You have to bounce right back and play." 

 

Starkville never got the opportunity to instantly forget about the district loss to Yazoo City as its Saturday home contest against Newton County was canceled due to weather. The Jackets will return to district play Tuesday night when they travel to Neshoba Central. 

 

Yazoo City answered an early SHS run in the third inning with a perfectly executed small ball philosophy as Jones stole third base following a walk.  

 

Knowing the game was forming into a pitcher's duel, Yazoo City coach Gerald Peyton called for a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt and then had his senior second baseman showcase that quick action to put him on third base. Two pitches after the theft of third base, Jones scampered home on a wild pitch to tie the score at 1-1. 

 

Clanton tried to help his own cause in the opening inning with a two-out single and would've scored the Yellow Jackets (7-9, 0-1) only run if he wasn't replaced with courtesy runner Jalen Campbell. Clanton had two hits to go along with his complete game on the mound that included allowing just two hits and five total base runners. He was the only member of the SHS lineup that had a multi-hit day against Yazoo City starting pitcher Darius Wright. 

 

Wright, who spent the fall as the starting quarterback of the Indians football team, executed a complete game allowing just six hits while striking out seven batters but with no walks. 

 

"Sometimes you have to be able to hit, you have to be able to score some runs," Jones said. "That just didn't happen tonight."

 

 

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