HYDE — The Clearfield Area High School baseball team made one comeback, a big one with eight runs in the fourth inning to go up 11-9, but a second rally in the bottom of the seventh fell short as Bald Eagle Area held on for a 14-13 win in a wild Mountain League game at the Bison Sports Complex Thursday.
The Bison mounted their final threat when Sawyer Rowles walked and Logan Puit launched a double into right center field for his third hit.
Sawyer scored on a groundout by Curtis Collins, and Cole Kephart followed with a sharp single past third base for another run.
Josh Sorbera kept the Bison alive with a single to right center, putting runners on the corners and setting up an opportunity for a forced balk play which has worked very effectively over the years under longtime coach Sid Lansberry.
The runner on first base breaks as the pitcher comes set, hoping to draw a balk call or get caught in a rundown to give the runner on third a chance to sprint to the plate.
That was the strategy when the count went to 1-2 on Jon Janocko.
Zach Timchak, Sorbera’s courtesy runner, did his job, but the Eagles defensed the play perfectly to end the game. Shortstop Bryan Greene alertly called for hurler Nate Cleaver to throw to him, took a few steps toward Timchak and, when Kephart made his break, fired a strike to catcher Bryce Greene in time to get the sliding Bison junior.
“A lot of times that play works and you could tell the pitcher was confused,” Lansberry said. “Luckily, they had a pretty veteran player out there that knew what to do. What are the chances he’s gonna make a good throw? And the catcher has to hang on to the ball.
“Cole made a good effort, a good slide. That’s all you can do.”
The heart-breaking defeat was the seventh of the frustrating 3-12 season in which the Bison have held a lead.
“It’s a very tough loss,” Lansberry said. “Every one has been tough this year because we’ve been in every game but one.
“That’s our sixth one-run loss, with two more by two runs. If you win half of those, you’re having a decent season.”
Clearfield was playing from behind from the outset after two errors gave Bald Eagle Area (11-4, 10-3 ML) a pair of runs in the first inning.
Down 3-0 for their second at-bat, the Bison pulled even when Sorbera walked and Janocko slugged a double to the left center wall, Erik Sellers singled on a grounder to deep short that Bryan Greene deflected toward the left field line and Thomas Summers slashed a single to right for two RBIs.
Cleaver quickly broke the tie with a leadoff homer in the third frame and the Eagles ended starter Devin Jones’ stay on the mound with five runs on six hits in the fourth. The key blow was a two-run single by Ryan Dyke.
As they have done so many times this season, the Bison responded with the help of four walks by BEA hurler Ryan Guenot.
Rowles and Puit singled for RBIs, and walks to Spencer Herrington and Kephart forced in another before Sorbera and Janocko came through with clutch hits.
Guenot was relieved by Colton Comly after Sorbera singled through the left side for two RBIs, and Janocko greeted him by whacking a three-run homer to left to put the Bison up by two.
Junior Nate Brady, who got the final two outs in the fourth, couldn‘t slow down the high-flying Eagles in the fifth.
Alex Struble, who had replaced Tyler Schall after the Eagle center fielder crashed into the fence on Janocko’s two-bagger, ignited the outburst with his second hit, a home run to left center. The Greene twins singled and scored on sacrifice flies by Dyke and Cleaver. Two Bison misplays gave the visitors a fourth run and a 13-11 edge before Kephart put out the fire in his first time on the hill.
BEA added what proved to be an all-important insurance marker in the seventh on two infield hits and Brandon Gettig’s third double, all after a Clearfield double play.
The Bison couldn’t quite reward Kephart for his 2-1/3-inning stint by pulling out the win, though, as Cleaver saved the victory for Colton Comly, the most effective pitcher of the day with only two hits and one earned run allowed in two innings.
“Cole did a good job,” Lansberry said. “Maybe we found a closer.”
He blamed the weather that caused so many postponements for having to summon Kephart and Brady, who was tagged with the loss in just his second appearance.
“We’re coming into this week with five games, and you run out of pitching,” he explained. “You don’t want to use Jon because we have to have somebody for (Friday).”
The Bison pounded Eagle pitching for the second time with a season-high 13 hits, including three by Puit and two each by Janocko, Sorbera and Kephart.
They had 12 on April 1 when BEA squeezed out a 13-12 win on its home diamond.
So, the Bison gave the No. 2 team in the league two of its stiffest tests, but 25 runs weren’t enough to even salvage a split.
Sadly, that’s so indicative of the way this season has evolved for them.
“We’ve played hard every game and we’ve never gone down easy,” Lansberry said.
Clearfield closes the busy week with a road date against Philipsburg-Osceola Friday.
Mountain League – Central 13-0, Bald Eagle Area 10-3, Huntingdon 8-5, Tyrone 5-8, Penns Valley 5-9, Philipsburg-Osceola 4-8, Bellefonte 3-9, Clearfield 2-8.
BALD EAGLE AREA — 14
Bryan Greene ss 4222, Bryan Greene c 4320, Ryan Dyke 3b 4323, Dakota Bartley pr 0000, Jeff Bennett lf-cf 0000, Colton Comly p 0000, Nate Cleaver dh-p 4133, Jordan Kobularcik 1b 4010, Dylan Burns pr 0100, Ryan Guenot p-cf 4011, Brandon Gettig 2b 3231, Jason Jones rf 5010, Tyler Schall cf 1000, Alex Struble lf 3221. TOTALS: 36 14 17 11.
CLEARFIELD — 13
Logan Puit rf 5231, Spencer Herrington ss 4100, Curt Collins lf 5011, Cole Kephart 3b-p 4122, Josh Sorbera c 3222, Devin Jones p 0000, Nate Brady p 0000, Dan Collins 3b 0000, Jon Janocko dh 3224, Erik Sellers 2b 1211, Thomas Summers 1b 4111, Sawyer Rowles cf 3211. TOTALS: 32 13 13 13.
Score by Innings
Bald Eagle Area 211 540 1 – 14 17 1
Clearfield 030 800 2 – 13 12 4
E – Bryan Greene; C. Collins, Kephart 2, Summers. PB – Sorbera 1. DP – Clearfield 1 (Sellers, Herrington and Summers). LOB – Bald Eagle Area 9; Clearfield 7. 2B – Gettig 3, Jones; Puit, Janocko. HR – Cleaver, Struble; Janocko (2). SF – Bryce Greene, Dyke, Cleaver, Guenot. SB – Bryce Greene; Puit 2, Sellers.
Bald Eagle Area – Guenot 3-2/3 IP, 8 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 5 BB, 4 K; Comly 2 IP 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 K; Cleaver 1-1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.
Clearfield – Jones 3-1/3 IP, 9 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 1 K; Brady 1-1/3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K; Kephart 2-1/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.
HB – Jones 2 (Bryan Greene, Kobularcik), Brady 1 (Gettig). WP – Guenot 1.
W – Comly. L – Brady (0-1). Sv – Cleaver.
Umpires – Mike Campbell (plate) and Joe Shick (bases).
|3/25||@ Central||ppd.||0 – 0|
|3/28||@ Huntingdon||6 – 7||0 – 1|
|3/31||@ Bald Eagle Area||ppd.||0 – 1|
|4/01||@ Bald Eagle Area||12 – 13||0 – 2|
|4/02||@ Central||1 – 2||0 – 3|
|4/03||@ Bellefonte||ppd.||0 – 3|
|4/07||@ Penns Valley||ppd.||0 – 3|
|4/08||@ Tyrone||ppd.||0 – 3|
|4/09||@ Penns Valley||3 -3, susp.||0 – 3|
|4/11||@ Altoona Curve Classic|
|vs. Altoona||8 – 10||0 – 4|
|4/12||@ Altoona Curve Classic|
|vs. Latrobe||1 – 4||0 – 5|
|4/14||PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA||ppd.||0 – 5|
|4/15||TYRONE||ppd.||0 – 5|
|4/17||CENTRAL||0 – 10||0 – 6|
|4/21||DUBOIS||3 – 7||0 – 7|
|4/22||HUNTINGDON||8 – 10||0 – 8|
|4/25||BALD EAGLE AREA||ppd.||0 – 8|
|4/26||TYRONE||2 – 3 (8 inn.)||0 – 9|
|4/28||BELLEFONTE||11 – 5||1 – 9|
|4/29||BALD EAGLE AREA||ppd.||1 – 9|
|5/01||@ Tyrone||ppd.||1 – 9|
|5/02||@ Punxsutawney||6 – 10||1 – 10|
|5/06||PENNS VALLEY (susp 4/9)||3 – 4 (13 inn)||1 – 11|
|5/06||PENNS VALLEY||8 – 3||2 – 11|
|5/07||@ Brookville||10 – 2||3 – 11|
|5/08||BALD EAGLE AREA||13 – 14||3 – 12|