The playoff stakes are crystal clear for Clear Falls, but you need not remind Eddie Youngblood.
The Knights’ head coach will tell you straight up that his baseball squad has been in a postseason mode for a few weeks.
“Where we’re coming from, we started district 1-5. It’s been playoff baseball for us for a while. They’ve been in that mindset,” Youngblood said after the Knights completed a two-game sweep of Clear Lake with a 5-1 victory on Friday night.
And with a pivotal set of contests with Clear Creek this coming week, Clear Falls, now 5-5 in District 24-6A, knows it will have to dig in yet again.
The Wildcats, 3-5 after its bye week, stands in a precarious postseason posture.
“We’ve got to be ready to go back to work. Creek’s a great ball club, full of tradition, and they’ll come ready to play,” said Youngblood. “We’ve just got to keep our head down and be focused.”
Clear Falls, which lashed eight hits in the first five innings, chipped away at Clear Lake starter Pete Skol.
Brooks Montgomery, Corey Lanier and Nick Mueller — the 1-2-3 hitters for Clear Falls — combined for five hits, four three runs scored, three stolen bases and two RBIs at the top of the lineup.
Mueller’s long double off the right field wall brought home Lanier, who singled, to make it 1-0 in the first. After Montgomery and Lanier opened the third with singles, Mueller added another run-scoring single while Jake Trapani drove in another run with a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead.
Clear Falls found more offense in the fifth as starting pitcher Cooper Timmons, the No. 6 hitter, drilled a two-run single to push across Mueller, who had his third hit, and Kaiden Beaty, who walked and moved to second on a balk.
In a win over the Falcons on Tuesday night, the Knights parlayed three errors into all six of their runs in one inning of a 6-4 decision.
“We pitched well all week and we’ve been a little gritty,” Youngblood said. “We’ve found a way to manufacture some runs.”
Timmons was smooth through his six innings of work on the mound and scattered four Clear Lake hits, including a pair of singles by Arjun Parikh, while allowing only three walks.
“We evolved into a three-man rotation, but we’ve morphed into next man up,” Youngblood said. “Today, (Timmons) was back in a starting role and he hasn’t been a starter for a few weeks.
“Good or bad, that last week (of district play), that’s our bye week, so all we can do is control next week’s games. We’ve done just enough to win, which we’ll take.”