Not getting the typical performance from an ace pitcher made it even worse.
Norwalk committed six errors and Clyde got Nolan Flowers out of the game after four innings, as the Fliers took a 7-2 victory in Sandusky Bay Conference Lake division victory on Wednesday.
"I am a little surprised by the errors," Norwalk coach Wes Douglas said. "We haven’t had too many errors and we definitely haven’t had a bunch of them together in a game. Clyde put the ball in play hard."
The loss drops the Truckers to 11-6 overall and 5-2 in league play, tying them in the loss column with Perkins (12-4, 6-2). Clyde improves to 11-8 and 4-3, staying one game back in the standings.
"We are tied for first place," Douglas said. "We would have signed up for that at the beginning of the year — to be in first place with three games to go."
The errors, combined with timely hitting by Clyde, continually hurt Norwalk. The Fliers put together their best inning in the fourth with the game tied at 2-2.
Nathan Montgomery was hit by a pitch, then Zack Hickman singled into left field. Montgomery took third on the single and after a popout, he scored when Jon Jett laid down a sacrifice bunt. Will Lozier then laced a double into centerfield to score Hickman. Will's older brother, Ryan, then singled before Cam Farrar's grounder was bobbled for an error, allowing Will Lozier to score for a 5-2 lead.
"I tried to replay every situation and outcome this game could have went, but I did not think it would be that lopsided," Clyde coach Drew Linder said. "I thought it would come down to a pitcher's dual."
The Fliers extended the lead in the sixth inning, again taking advantage of Norwalk errors. Will Lozier reached on second base on a outfield fielding error. Ryan Lozier followed with a double to score a run. Farrar was intentionally walked and after a strikeout, Trent Cook reached safely on Norwalk's sixth error of the day.
"Flowers is a guy that likes to pitch backwards," Linder said. "He loves throwing his off-speed pitches first. We had a game plan and that worked to our advantage.”
The Truckers got on the board first, taking advantage of two Clyde miscues. Garrett Obringer reached on an error before stealing second base. Clyde pitcher Grant Reese bounced back to get two outs before a second error in the inning on a pop-up allowed Obringer to score.
The Fliers bounced back in the bottom half of the inning. Will Lozier and Ryan Lozier each singled before Farrar roped a hit to bring in Will Lozier. After a strikeout, Cook was hit by a pitch and Montgomery reached on an error to score Farrar.
The Truckers tied the game in the third inning. Garrett Obringer singled before Eli Obringer got on via an error. Garrett Obringer scored when Reese attempted a pickoff throw that was errant.
"They pitched a little better than us," Douglas said. "They fielded a little better than us. We got beat."
Norwalk took a 5-2 win over the Fliers at home on April 3.
"I do not think they put the ball in play as hard over there," Douglas said. "They had seven errors and we squeezed in and manufactured all of our runs. We did not hit well that day, either."
Will Lozier, Ryan Lozier, and Farrar combined to reach base in 10 of 12 plate appearances.
"Will Lozier — you are talking about a kid that started the first eight games on junior varsity," Linder said. "He came up to varsity and got a shot. He has run with it. He hits the ball solid."
Flowers allowed five runs on seven hits in four innings. He threw 90 pitches including innings of 32 and 33 pitches before exiting.
"He was not terrible today," Douglas said. "I thought he was good. I thought Clyde hit him. He was not in total command."
Reese was consistent on the mound for Clyde. He allowed two runs on three hits and three walks. He struck out five while throwing just 93 pitches.
"Grant did not have his best stuff, but he did the job well enough to win," Linder said. "He has been in the moment. He has pitched in big games and he keeps his composure."
Thomas Gfell pitched a scoreless fifth inning before giving way to Eli Obringer in the sixth.
Norwalk is scheduled to host Hillsdale today in a non-league game, followed by an SBC Lake home game on Friday against Sandusky — then a doubleheader on Saturday at home vs. Edison to close out the week.
Norwalk 101 000 0 — 2 3 6
Clyde 200 302 x — 7 8 5
WP: Reese. LP: Flowers
2B: (C) W. Lozier, R. Lozier