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Clear Lake vs. Chariton

July 30, 2013

Clear Lake scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to upset third-seeded Chariton 5-4 in a Class 3A quarterfinal-round thriller at Principal Park Tuesday evening. Sophomore Brandon Tofte smacked a walk-off, bases-clearing triple with two outs to give the Lions the win.

Chariton took a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh before the Clear Lake comeback. Rowdy Yates led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk. Pinch-runner Zach Tatum advanced to second on a balk, and after a strikeout, stole third. Gavin Sheakley singled, scoring Tatum and knocking Chariton starter Charlie Palmer from the game. Luke Schiller grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out of the inning. With the Lions down to their final out of the game trailing by three, Brock Adams smacked a double, advancing Schiller to third. After an intentional walk to Mitch Keeran to load the bases, Tofte sent the ball screaming over the Chargers’ right fielder, clearing the bases with a walk-off, three-run triple and igniting a Clear Lake celebration on the field and in the stands.

The win puts Clear Lake into Friday's semifinals, where the Lions will take on either second seed Harlan (28-7) or seventh-seeded and defending Class 3A state champions Dallas Center-Grimes (21-13).

Clear Lake jumped on the board early, taking a 1-0 lead in the second. Shortstop Pete Swenson led off with a single, advanced to second on an error and scored on a 1-3 groundout by Yates.

Chariton would answer in the third, scoring three runs off Clear Lake starter Jerry Kockler on five hits. Number nine hitter Token Hall started things with a single. Austin Rittenour and Austin Peterson followed with singles of their own, loading the bases with just one out. Hall scored on a Jordan Baughman sacrifice fly. Alex Wright and TJ Hockenson hit back-to-back RBI singles.

Chariton stretched its lead to 4-1 in the top half of the sixth. Hockenson led the way with a single, followed by Brett Braida, who reached on error. After Palmer struck out swinging for the first out of the inning, Hall singled, loading the bases. With a new pitcher on the mound, Ritenour drew a walk off Sheakley, scoring the fourth run of the game for the Chargers. Sheakley retired the next two batters, keeping the Lions within three.

Kockler scattered eight hits, allowing four runs and striking out six in 5.1 innings. Sheakley (12-0) picked up the win in relief.

Baughman (6-2) took the loss for the Chargers. Palmer threw six and a third strong innings, giving up two runs. He struck out six.

The loss ends the Chargers' season at 35-6.