Tournaments : : Story
Thursday, July 12, 2012

Clarkin-Davis duel highlights playoffs

Todd Gold        
Photo: Perfect Game
MARIETTA, GA-- The 17u WWBA National Championship includes a 941 game schedule, and to this point none has been better than the playoff matchup between the defending champion East Cobb Braves 17u and the San Diego Show.

In a game that pitted the organizations that won the 17u and 18u championships last year, each team sent their ace to the mound. The high level pitching matchup pitted 2013 RHP Kevin Davis (Miller HS, Brewton, AL) of the Braves against 2013 LHP Ian Clarkin (Madison HS, San Diego, CA).

The marque pitching matchup lived up to it's potential as Clarkin and Davis took a scoreless pitcher's duel into the final inning.

East Cobb flamethrower Kevin Davis opened the game by striking out the side in the top of the first, putting away each hitter with his power curveball that sat 75-78 with big depth and hard bite. Davis' fastball sat 89-91 throughout the game, touching 92 several times, including once in the 7th inning. Davis' profile of two power offerings and a high effort delivery has caused some scouts to suggest his future may lie in the bullpen, but he worked in several quality changeups that could change some minds.

Ian Clarkin also brought the heat, working 88-90 with hard tailing action, topping out at 91 mph, and like Davis, he also hit his top velocity in the 7th inning. Clarkin showed off a signature offspeed pitch of his own, with a changeup that flashed plus at times in the 78-81 mph range. His curveball was in the 69-73 mph range, showing solid 1-6 break and induced several swings and misses and an ability to throw it for a strike.

The only run of the game came in the top of the 7th inning, when Anthony Balderas singled to right center. The Show pinch ran for Balderas with Andrew Wright, who stole 2nd. An errant attempt to throw out Wright allowed him to get to third, before Vincent Mori drove in the run with a bloop single.

With a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 7th Clarkin struck out the first two hitters, blowing a 90 mph fastball by Travis Demeritte and striking out Nate Maggio with a curveball. With the game on the line Clarkin lost a 7 pitch battle with Dalton Ewing, in a battle that ended in a walk after a pair of borderline pitches were called in favor of Ewing. The following hitter, Brian Navarreto reached on an error to put the tying run on base. Clarkin's first pitch to the following batter missed, before he bared down and finished the game off with his fourth strikeout of the game.

The final lines read:

Ian Clarkin: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 102 pitches (69 strikes)
Kevin Davis: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 103 (69 strikes)

Full box score

The timing could not have been better for Davis and Clarkin, whose duel came several hours before the 2012 Perfect Game All-American Classic rosters are announced on the Selection Show on CBS Sports. Tune in at 7:00 eastern to find out if they were chosen.

The San Diego show advance to face Team Elite 17u Black in the qurarterfinals. Team Elite Black boasts the current No. 1 ranked player in the 2013 class in OF Clint Frazier.

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