COLUMBIA — Rock Bridge senior shortstop Eric Clark’s ball cap is a different color than his teammates’ hats. It’s sweat-stained, dirty, brown, and even though it’s only a year and a half old, it looks like Clark might have been wearing it since his freshman year. But it is good luck.
“He won’t let us wash it,” Clark’s mom, Mary Clark said. “It’s his good luck charm.”
The hat typically doesn’t make it outside of the baseball field, but with Thursday’s game against Hickman being the last regular season high school game for Clark and his fellow seniors, he made an exception.
“I wore it to school today,” Clark said. “Normally I don’t wear it to school. It’s not pretty.”
Mary doesn’t hide the fact that she hates the hat, even though its Eric’s good luck charm.
“My mom bought me a new hat,” Eric said. “She was like, ‘You don’t need to wear that hat in public,’ Normally I don’t.”
The new hat sits at home on Eric’s dresser.
With the game tied at one in the top of the ninth inning, two out, and two on base, Clark came up to bat. He had faced the exact same situation in the seventh, but was called out on a strike that Clark had thought was ball four. Clark knew after the ninth, there wouldn’t be another chance.
With two strikes against him, Clark hit a line drive single over the first baseman’s head, bringing in two runners.
Rock Bridge scored two more before the game went into the bottom of the ninth. With one out and one on, Hickman senior Thad McVeigh hit a ground ball in Clark’s direction, giving Clark another sweet chance which he turned into a 6-4-3 double play, securing Rock Bridge’s 5-1 win over its rival.
After the game, Clark was thrilled.
“I knew I wanted it bad,” Clark said. “It’s just one of those feelings.”