Clay’s redemption is TRAC title after a rough start

J. Patrick Eaken

It is unusual for Clay baseball to get more selections on the All-Three Rivers Athletic Conference team than the Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Team, but it happened this year.

Clay won an outright Three Rivers Athletic Conference championship and had eventual Division I state champion Sylvania Northview on the ropes at the district tournament but fell short 2-1 at Liberty-Benton High School.

“We needed three outs against them,” Clay coach Jim Phillips said. “We took the lead in the top of the eighth in extra innings and could not get them. If you went and watched that game, you would have thought it was a phenomenal high school baseball game, you know what I mean? 

“Somebody had to lose it and it had to be us, unfortunately, but I felt we had put ourselves in a really good position, obviously. In that game we competed hard and could not get it done at the end of the day.”

However, the Eastern Maumee Bay community is always packed with baseball talent, and Eastwood had their way with St. John’s, winning by mercy rule, 10-0, during the regular season.”

Clay finished 17-12 overall, but 11-3 in the TRAC. For Clay, before going on a late tear to win the TRAC title, it was tough going early on. The Eagles were 5-7 early in the season, including a 4-3 loss to Anthony Wayne, 8-6 loss to Maumee, 5-0 loss to Canfield, 5-4 loss to Northview, and 7-6 loss to Perrysburg. 

On a trip to Florida, Clay lost to J.W. Mitchell, 13-1, to Sunlake, 15-14, in nine innings, and to Land O’Lakes, 4-3 in 10 innings, but defeated Pasco, 4-1. That is where Phillips believes his team found themselves.

Clay sophomore pitcher C.J. Boudreaux was TRAC Pitcher of the Year, a first team All-Press selection, first team All-TRAC pick, and first team all-district. Boudreaux went 6-1 with 62 strikeouts, 19 walks and allowed 26 hits, 12 runs, and six earned runs in 45.2 innings for a 1.18 ERA. 

“It’s funny, he really made some progress. From last year he did a really nice job on our JV Green team, and he made some huge strides in the offseason, working in the weight room, adding some weight,” Phillips said. 

“He really made some huge strikes in his velocity, and he was someone who from the start really asserted himself as our No. 1. He went out there in his first outing and really dominated against Anthony Wayne and kind of from there did not look back. He was kind of our guy — that was it.”

Bourdeaux was third in voting for All-Press Pitcher of the Year behind Eastwood junior Ethan Sapp and Genoa senior Seth Witt.

Clay did get two first team All-Press picks, and six second team, meaning just two who were nominated received honorable mention.

Of those nine, just four are seniors, including catcher Jackson Kennedy, who is first team All-TRAC first team All-Press and second team all-district after batting .312 (32-for-80) with five doubles, two home runs, 20 RBIs, 16 runs, eight walks, five stolen bases and a .406 OBP. Plus, his command on the field is lights out, and coaches are considering that when they vote, too. 

All three Clay outfielders received second team All-Press honors, including junior Christian Mays, who is also first team All-TRAC and all-district. Mays batted .344 (31-for-90) with four doubles, one triple, 13 RBIs, 34 runs, 17 SB and a .450 OBP.

Joining him in the outfield at Oregon Recreation’s John Ousky Field were junior Ethan Stager and Jared Hoersten, which means coach Jim Phillips will return his entire outfield next year. 

Stager, an honorable mention All-TRAC and all-district selection, batted .333 (20-for-60) with five doubles, one homer, 15 RBIs, 12 runs, 12 walks, one SB and a .467 OBP. Hoersten, second team All-TRAC and HM all-district, batted .306 (22-for-72) with three doubles, 19 RBIs, 16 runs, 11 walks, seven SB, and a .393 OBP.

In any given year, senior athlete Donovan Coughlin might have been first team All-Press at first base, but he was lined up with some heavy hitters in Witt and Lake senior Cam Hoffman competing for votes. Coughlin is second team All-Press, all-district, and All-TRAC after batting .333 (27-for-81) with three doubles, two triples, one homer, 22 RBIs, 23 runs, eight walks, 16 SB, and a .385 OBP.

At third base, senior Spencer Fortier is another one of those multi-sport athletes with the skills to be a first teamer but lined up against others who have to guard the hottest corner of the infield. Fortier is second team All-Press, All-TRAC, and all-district after batting .305 (25-for-82) with nine doubles, two homers, 25 RBIs, 28 runs, 25 walks, three SB and a.477 OBP.

Bourdeaux was one of four Clay pitchers who brought home honors as senior Jon Marisco was 3-3 with 20 strikeouts and 13 walks in allowing 28 hits, 13 runs, and nine earned runs in 30.2 innings while earning a 2.64 ERA. Marsico is HM All-Press, All-TRAC, and all-district.

Sophomore Vinny Gallaher is HM All-Press, All-TRAC and all-district, too, after going 4-3 with 36 strikeouts and 10 walks while allowing 43 hits, 18 runs, and 13 earned runs in 40.1 innings for a 2.90 ERA.

Hoersten earned second team All-Press, second team All-TRAC and HM all-district honors for his pitching, going 2-1 with 34 strikeouts and 23 walks while allowing 23 hits, 20 runs, and seven earned runs in 28.1 innings for a 2.32 ERA.
















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