BELOIT - Though the outcome would be decided less than six outs into the game, there was still plenty of work left for both teams to do in Turner's 14-1 victory over Clinton in five innings Tuesday.
The Trojans put the first seven runners aboard in the bottom of the first inning thanks to three singles, three walks and a Clinton error. By the time the Cougars recorded their first out, Turner already had five runs on the board.
By the time Clinton was able to get out of the first, Turner had 10 runs on seven hits, three walks and a 10-1 lead.
The rest of the game followed suit, with the Trojans taking the foot off the gas offensively after they added four more runs in the second.
Turner coach Jeff Clowes said Tuesday was a continuation of Turner's solid play of late. The Trojans have won eight straight games and appear to be peaking at the perfect time with the WIAA Division 2 playoffs right around the corner.
"We just want to make sure we stay consistent this time of year," Clowes said. "The last couple of weeks, we've been able to get out of jams and take really good approaches at the plate. We've just got to keep that up."
The Trojans continue to show offensive improvement. Since losing to Jefferson 3-2 on April 24, Turner has scored at least seven runs in all but one of their victories in the streak. That's due in large measure to the progress of several young hitters at the bottom of the Turner lineup, who have supplemented the big guns at the top.
"They've gotten so much better with their approaches at the plate," senior Hunter Waldsmith said. "Really, it's nothing different from when Mitch Seager, Ryan Hughes and I were playing varsity as sophomores. It took them a little bit to get comfortable, but now that they are, they are playing great."
Clowes said the team's ability to weather an early-season storm that included losses to Big Foot and Evansville has set them up for success.
"Anytime you lose the guys we did from last year, there's going to be come adversity you have to go through," Clowes said. "It's a cliche, but you have to face that adversity to figure out if you're going to run or come together. Luckily enough, we were able to get through that period and we've gotten together."
Every Turner hitter in the starting lineup reached base safely at least once, with Seager leading the hit parade with a 3-for-3 performance that included a pair of doubles. Waldsmith started and allowed a run in two innings, and Drew Ries (two innings) and Adrian Estrada (one inning) finished things out without allowing a Cougar run.
On the other side of Tuesday's rout was a Clinton team that under first-year coach Marc Montez is trying to build up. Montez said he wasn't discouraged by his team's effort, especially on the heels of a well-played but tough 3-2 loss Monday at Edgerton.
"They were throwing one of their better pitchers and it was good for us to see a guy like that to start, because that's the kind of pitching we will see in the playoffs," Montez said. "They hit their gaps against our pitching, but it is what it is. I've been happy with the way these guys have been competing out there."
The highlight of the game was the performance of center field Jason Brewer, who cracked a solo home run in the first inning and showed off a terrific arm by throwing out a Turner running trying to advance to third base by a wide margin.
"Jason's had a really nice year for us," Montez said. "The way he's able to adjust from pitch-to--pitch is really impressive to see from a high school kid."
• UP NEXT: The two teams will meet again Thursday in Clinton.