Baseball: Jesse Smith, Griffith end Clark’s reign
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent May 26, 2012 11:32PM
Updated: July 3, 2012 11:31AM
HAMMOND — For four years, Clark reigned as sectional champion. But this season brought a new team into the field.
And a new champion.
Riding the arm of starting pitcher Jesse Smith, Griffith ended Clark’s reign with a 4-0 victory.
Smith struck out 14 Clark hitters in a complete-game shutout, scattering three hits and a pair of walks.
“Jesse is a tough kid; he’s a competitor,” said Griffith coach Brian Jennings.
“He wanted the ball today. I knew that, once we got him a lead, we were in good shape.”
Griffith’s scouting report on the Clark (15-9) lineup called for an unorthodox approach for Smith.
“I talked to the coaches and they said we were going to mix it up a lot; throwing curveballs in fastball counts and things like that,” said Smith. “My curveball was working very well and the fastball started to come around a bit, later.”
Said Clark coach Chris Moore: “We tried everything. We laid down a few bunts, and he came out on one of them and made the flip to first himself. He just made it tough on our guys all day.”
One big inning was all Griffith (17-14) needed on offense, and that happened in the third. Brandon Garcia, Griffith’s No. 9 hitter, started the inning with a double, followed by a walk to Brett Brinkley. A Garrett Litke single scored Garcia, and a throwing error on a steal attempt brought Brinkley home. Smith capped the rally with a sacrifice fly, scoring Litke.
“The bottom of the order really started us off … they came through and that was big for us,” Jennings said. “My philosophy all season long has been that, if we get four or five runs, we’re a pretty tough team to beat.”
Griffith added an insurance run in the fourth inning on an RBI single from Austin Brown that scored Matthew Colomes, who led off the inning with a double.