Center fielder B.J. Bowman had Clearfield's only hit - her 5th homerun on the season. (Photo courtesy ladybisonsports.org)
HYDE – Kelsey Cook of Punxsutawney joined a growing list of top-notch pitchers who have compounded the Clearfield Area High School softball team’s hitting woes by spinning a one-hitter for a 9-1 victory at the Bison Sports Complex Monday afternoon.
She whiffed seven Lady Bisons in succession after B.J. Bowman cranked her fifth home run of the season high and deep over the left center fence in the fourth inning and finished with 14 strikeouts.
Cook walked two, including Bowman leading off the seventh before setting down the next three batters on swinging third strikes.
“Cook blew us away,” Clearfield coach Bob Dixon said after the District 9 Northern Allegany League Big School Division game. “You can’t strike out that many times and not put the ball in play. That gives no pressure on their ball team.
“We really haven’t hit all year. I thought we’d have a better hitting team.”
In their eight losses, the Lady Bisons have been held to one hit twice and two hits three times.
In four other games, they have wound up with four or five hits, but they did win two of those with Heather Picard pitching shutouts.
Dixon conceded some of his younger players have been overmatched and pointed out that a nagging foot injury has kept shortstop Andrea Butler out of action since the Thunder of the Mountain Tournament at Lock Haven in mid-April.
Butler, who occupied the leadoff spot, had elevated her average to just under .300 with six hits in three games when she was sidelined for the season.
“You take Butler out of the lineup, that hurts,” Dixon said. “She’s one of our good hitters. And then we had to move people around.
“We’ve got a lot of kids out of position.”
Taking over for Butler is sophomore second baseman Melinda Owens, with four Lady Bisons having taken turns at her old spot. Soph Tristan Lewis seems to be entrenched there, but she moved to short when Owens was nailed above her left knee by a wicked grounder in the fifth inning.
“Tristan’s a pitcher or third baseman,” Dixon pointed out.
Susie Colesar was shifted from first base to third base when Mia Keener got a start at second base and freshman Lucy Kovalick was called up from the jayvees to join classmate Mikayla Ebeling, an outfielder, in the starting lineup, two games back.
“That’s no excuse,” Dixon was quick to add. “The routine plays you have to make, and right now we’re not making them.”
Clearfield (7-8, 3-4 D9NAL) was guilty of six errors, but a couple were on really hard-hit balls.
The Lady Bisons were still very much in the game when Bowman’s blast made it 2-1, but Punxsy (11-2, 7-1) pulled away with six of their 10 hits off Picard in the last three innings.
Megan Kauffman’s single to deep short, a walk and an error supplied two runs in the fifth.
The Lady Chucks, who beat the Lady Bisons 9-2 behind Amber Lellock’s two-hitter April 14, made the most of three hits in the sixth, getting one run on an error, one on a double steal and a third on Neal’s single.
In the seventh, Punxsy cashed two of Picard’s walks as Angela Laska and Lellock drilled back-to-back RBI-singles.
Neal, Laska, Lellock and Jenna Reitz had two hits apiece for the Lady Chucks, whose first run came on a homer to right center by Ashley Barenchik in the third frame.
Cook was so dominant, her defense didn’t have any really tough plays and the only chance for a Punxsy outfielder was Janell Zalno’s fly to right in the first inning.
Clearfield will visit St. Marys Wednesday for another D9NAL game.
Melinda Owens ss 2000, Baillie Davis rf 1000, Janell Zalno lf-2b 3000, B.J. Bowman cf 2111, Mikayla Ebeling rf 3000, Tristan Lewis 2b-ss 3000, Suzie Colesar 3b 3000, McKenzie Moore c 2000, Mia Keener dp 1000, Lucy Kovalick 1b 2000, Heather Picard p (flex) 0000. TOTALS: 22 1 1 1.
Score by Innings
Punxsutawney 001 123 2 – 9 10 0
Clearfield 000 100 0 – 1 1 6
Errors – Owens 3, Zalno 2, Colesar. PB – Neal 1. LOB – Huntingdon 7; Clearfield 2. HR – Barenchik (No. 2); Bowman (No. 5). Sac – Crago. SB – Laska, Kauffman 2, Dubensky. CS – Neal (by Moore).
Punxsutawney – Cook 7 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 14 K.
Clearfield – Picard 7 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 5 K.
WP – Picard 3.
W – Cook (5-2). L – Picard (7-5).
Umpires – Scott Viehdorfer (plate); Al Fricke (bases).
CLEARFIELD — 1
PUNXSUTAWNEY — 9
Ashley Barenchik 2b 2311, Ashley Couser ph 1000, Hannah Neal c 4021, Taylor Powell 1b-lf 4001, Jenna Reitz 3b 3120, Shawnna Crago dp 2100, Angela Laska ss 4121, Amber Lellock rf 3011, Skylyn Kopas ph 1000, Tia Davis lf 3000, Kristen Fedder ph-1b 1000, Megan Kauffman cf 3220, Megan Dubensky ph 1000, Kelsey Cook p (flex) 0100. TOTALS: 32 9 10 5.