When things are going your way day after day in the world of baseball, impressive win streaks follow.
Meet the Cleveland High baseball squad who won its sixth consecutive game over an 11-day span Friday afternoon, downing Clayton — the only team to have beaten the Rams this season — 6-0 at Pleasant Field.
Since that opening day loss, Cleveland has pounced on opportunity after opportunity offensively and pitched more than well enough to win each time out.
The Rams (6-1) did it again against the Comets (3-2).
Every chance Cleveland had to eek out a run — by its own work or a Clayton miscue that allowed an extra base runner, the Rams took advantage of.
Clayton, meanwhile, stranded all seven of the players it had reach base.
Cleveland was able to score runs with two outs in the first and third innings, then seemingly put the game away in the fifth.
Seth Gooding doubled to left field with two runners on and two outs, giving the Rams a comfortable margin.
Three to know
Caleb Howard, Cleveland: The Rams’ left-hander worked a complete-game victory with six strikeouts and five hits allowed.
Tyler Keenan, Cleveland: He went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and beat out a throw to first base on a dropped third strike to allow the Rams’ first run to score from third with two outs. He also singled with two outs to set up Will Tetrault’s RBI single in the third inning. And drove in Cleveland’s last two runs with a double to the right field fence in the sixth.
Blake Joyner, Clayton: Center field play is kind of like good offensive line play: you don’t usually notice it until you see the bad version of it. It was far from that kind of day for Joyner. His ability to cover the middle of the field cost the Rams an extra two or three hits, including in the sixth inning when he ran down a deep ball to left-center for an out that cost the Rams multiple runs.
Cleveland’s two-out hitting. All six Ram runs came with two outs on the scoreboard, making it a frustrating afternoon for Clayton pitchers who seemingly pitched well but couldn’t get out of innings.
As good as the Rams’ production was with runners on base, Clayton was on the other end of the spectrum. The Comets were 2-for-9 with runners on base and no runs produced. Clayton loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh but Howard got a strikeout and a ground ball for a double play to end the game.
By the numbers
22: First-pitch strikes thrown by Howard. That’s how you get through seven innings with a pitch count below 90 in mid-March, when pitch counts are lower than they will be later in the season.
0: Walks by Comet batters. Yeah, it’s hard to earn walks when the opposing pitcher is spitting out strikes about 2 out of every 3 pitches, but Clayton’s inability to get those extra runners on base kept any chance for a big inning offensively went away.
10: Fly ball outs by Clayton batters coaxed out of Howard.
You may have noticed
Some days the baseball plays heavy, some days it plays lighter. Friday afternoon, with no wind blowing, was definitely a heavy ball day. The double that Keenan mashed in to right-center field in the sixth was hit more than hard enough to leave the park, but it stayed in the park.
Several other balls to the outfield traveled a shorter distance than they seemingly would after leaving the bat for both teams.