The Stansbury Stallions continued their first-place season with a 10-0 win against the Morgan Trojans on Thursday.
Senior pitcher Jackson Clausing struck out seven Trojans, and senior Wyatt Branch and sophomore Cody Barkdull both drove in three RBIs to lead the Stallions in the win.
“Jackson Clausing threw a heck of a game and worked out of trouble,” Stansbury coach Ray Clinton said. “He left some runners on base, and he threw well.”
Clausing ran into some early trouble, but he powered through it to tally the five-inning shutout. In the top of the first inning, he gave up a base hit on his first pitch of the game. The defense covered him on the next hitter with a double play. Then two Morgan runners reached base on a dropped pop fly and a base hit. With the runners at first base and third base, Clausing recorded his first strikeout to get out of the inning with no runs scored.
He didn’t run into any trouble again until the top of the fifth inning and the Stallions leading 8-0. The Trojans had runners on second and third with one out, but Clausing forced a popout and his seventh strikeout to keep the shutout alive.
The Stallions completed the shutout in the bottom of the fifth with two runs to force the 10-run rule. Barkdull and junior Nick Mackay were on base, and Branch powered a pitch into the outfield for a game-winning triple.
Clinton said Clausing did a great job of getting first-pitch strikes in order to mow down the Trojans.
“He was getting ahead of a lot of hitters,” he said. “Getting first-pitch strikes puts them in a hole, so he did a great job.”
Clausing said he felt confident in his ability to spot his pitches, putting them where he wanted them to go.
“I didn’t have a lot of control with my off-speed pitches, but I could put that fastball exactly where I wanted it,” Clausing said.
When he did run into jams, he said he just kept pitching and trusted his fielders behind him.
“I didn’t let it phase me,” he said. “I didn’t get mad or frustrated. I just kept throwing strikes and got the job done.”
Stansbury’s offense created a difficult hill for the Trojans to climb with five runs in the first inning. Mackay drew a walk to open the game, and then he moved to second base on a failed pick-off attempt. Branch moved him to third base on a sacrifice fly, and then Filip Anderson knocked a base hit to left field that scored Mackay for a 1-0 lead. With Anderson on third and Clausing on second, junior Alex Mackay hit a two-run single to make the score 3-0. Finally, Barkdull knocked a two-run triple that scored seniors Brek Bentley and Chance Shields for a 5-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, Nick Mackay reached third base after a steal during Anderson’s at-bat. Anderson then drove him in with a sac fly for a 6-0 lead. Barkdull’s third RBI came in bottom of the third when he drove in Shields, who reached third base in the previous at-bat with a triple. Stansbury’s eighth run came later in that same inning. Branch knocked a single that scored Barkdull from third. Barkdull stole third base to get there.
Clausing said the hitting is starting to come around. He said they weren’t hitting as well to start the year, but things have started coming together. He said the extra-base hits really spark motivation in the other hitters, creating an atmosphere where they want to drive their teammates in and score runs.
Stansbury now visits Grantsville in a battle for first place.
Clinton said to expect a big game because of the rivalry and the fact that both teams are key players in this year’s chase for a region championship.
“Grantsville is a good club,” he said. “They’re having a great year. They’re going to be coming after us with their best stuff, and we’re going to be going after them with our best stuff. We don’t want our streak of region wins to be broken. We want to keep on winning and take home another region crown.”
The Stallions have won 17 consecutive Region 11 games, but Clausing said the players try not to think too much about things like that.
“We’re just going out there and playing,” Clausing said. “I haven’t even thought about our region streak. I just go out there, play some baseball and have fun.”