BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — Clay’s baseball team led the Panthers by just one run when it tacked on a trio of insurance runs during a 9-5 victory at Maumee on March 26. The Panthers had just pushed the score to 6-5 with a two-run fifth inning that saw junior designated hitter Blake Adams single and senior centerfielder Caleb Brown reach base after a pitch hit him and before sophomore first baseman Zach Marvin cleared the bases with a two-out double. After Maumee senior reliever Blake Hazard and Eagles sophomore reliever Derek Bolander kept any further damage from being done in the sixth stanza, Clay struck again in the top of the seventh. The Eagles batted almost all the way through their order in the frame, as sophomore leftfielder Andrew Collins, junior first baseman Nick Walter and senior catcher Alec Jaquillard all drew free passes before scoring on a single by junior rightfielder Grant Spears and the Panthers’ second error of the night. Adams drew a walk and stole a base in Maumee’s half of the seventh, but an incredible defensive play by junior shortstop Andrew Brown helped to seal the deal for the Eagles. Clay began the contest by scoring two quick runs on a first-inning Collins triple, follow-up singles from Walter and Jaquillard, a walk by senior starting pitcher Devin Lunsford and a fourth base hit from senior third baseman Matt Mohr. The damage could have been worse had it not been for a great throw by the Panthers’ senior leftfielder Devon Cleghorn, which gunned down an Eagles base runner at home plate. Three more singles by Brown, junior second baseman J.D. McGee and Walter and Maumee’s first error next led to a 3-0 Clay lead in the second. Panthers senior starting pitcher Justin Studenka, junior shortstop Austin Pauken and Adams reached base on a walk and two singles in the bottom of the third –Studenka scoring on Adams’ base knock. From there, Marvin and senior rightfielder Cameron Hahn tied things up by plating Pauken and Adams with a groundout and a single. The score did not stay tied for long, however, as the Eagles responded with a two-run fourth that included four straight singles by Walter, Jaquillard, Spears and Lunsford. Clay then took a 6-3 lead in the top of the fifth, when senior centerfielder Jack Winckowski scored on a wild pitch after earlier being hit by a pitch. Lunsford earned the win after allowing three earned runs on four hits and three walks, while striking two batters out over four frames. Bolander surrendered two more earned runs on three hits and two walks, despite striking five batters out over three innings. Walter led all batters by going 3-for-3 from the plate and collecting two walks, two runs and an RBI and Brown, Jaquillard (two walks, three runs, stolen base) and Spears (three RBI) added two more Eagles hits. Studenka took the loss after surrendering four earned runs on 12 hits and a walk over four frames. Hazard struck three batters out while allowing just an unearned run over two more innings and Hahn gave up two earned runs on a hit and three walks over an inning of relief work. Adams (walk, sacrifice bunt, two runs, RBI, stolen base) and Pauken (run) paced the Panthers offense with two hits each, despite the loss. Clay was picked to finish fourth in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference this year and Maumee was predicted to finish sixth in the Northern Lakes League. Oak Harbor 3, MHS 2 Two days later, Maumee dropped to 0-2 with a 3-2 loss to Oak Harbor. The Panthers actually jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Rockets in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Oak Harbor came back to tie things up in the fifth before scoring the go-ahead run in the sixth. Spencer Segaard led the Rockets to victory with a complete game performance from the mound and two walks and a run from the plate. Teammate Hunter Lacer led all batters on the night by going 2-for-4 and knocking a pair of Oak Harbor runs in. Senior Matt Dalton struck five Rockets’ batters out while allowing just a pair of unearned runs over five innings and Cleghorn (earned run) and senior Devin Schiavone (two strikeouts) each added a relief frame. Maumee split its six runs evenly between Cleghorn (triple, sacrifice)), Hahn (walk, run), Hazard, Pauken (sacrifice) and Studenka and senior Hunter Duby (two RBI) and Brown drew a walk.