PHILIPSBURG — The Clearfield Legion nipped Hatfield Legion 3-2 in dramatic fashion and then downed the Pennsylvania Lightning 6-2 at the Don Womer Baseball Complex Friday afternoon for its first 2-0 start in eight appearances at the Pennsylvania Open Wood Bat Tournament.
Clearfield is one of four undefeated teams after opening day of the 32nd annual tourney hosted by the Bellefonte Bandits, and they’ll be vying for their first trip to the semifinals when they take on Albion Legion at 12:30 p.m. and the NorChester Bulldogs at 3 on the Governor’s Park diamond in Bellefonte Saturday.
Albion and NorChester are 1-0-1 with a 4-4 tie in their showdown, while Hampden Township Legion is 2-0 with wins over Bellefonte Legion 6-0 and State College Legion 4-1.
Outstanding pitching from Brett Gardner and a walk-off hit by Brandon Orsich highlighted Clearfield’s exciting victory over Hatfield.
Gardner, a tourney pick-up who was a member of the Curwensville Area High School staff in the spring, went the distance on a five-hitter, striking out three and walking two.
He escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second inning by inducing three ground balls, two that were gobbled up by third baseman Cole Kephart for force-outs at the plate, and remained locked in a scoreless duel with Zach Coll through five frames.
The Chiefs did not have a hit, and only one base runner, until the sixth inning when Gardner drilled a two-out double to left center to chase home Orsich, who had drawn a walk.
Gardner not only lost his bid a shutout with two outs in the top of the seventh but also was on the hook for a loss after Post 933’s John Posavec doubled to left center to drive in Zach Zeigler, who was hit by a pitch, and Bobby Scott, who reached base on Clearfield’s lone error of the day that made both runs unearned.
However, the Chiefs rewarded Gardner for his sterling effort with their exciting finish.
Sawyer Rowles triggered the winning rally with a double, and Kephart followed with a single to chase Coll. A failed suicide squeeze attempt turned fortunate for the Chiefs when Rowles stole home on the throw to third base to tie the score.
With two on and two outs, Orsich came through with his game-winning single to right center that scored Jon Janocko from second base and pinned the loss on reliever Dan Carney.
Hatfield, currently fourth at 9-5 in the tough, 11-team Bux Mont League, rebounded to beat Philipsburg 6-3 in eight innings for a 14-8 record.
Janocko and Orsich worked out of trouble in four innings to frustrate the Pennsylvania Lightning, which stranded 10 runners.
Janocko, making his first start of the season against the Oil City-based travel team he played for last summer, pitched five innings for the win. He allowed five hits, three walks and both runs while striking out four.
An around-the-horn double play limited the damage in the first inning after the first of Wes Lang’s four singles, a walk and Matt Hultquist’s hit produced a run for the Pennsylvania Lightning.
Manager Sid Lansberry’s Chiefs answered with three runs in the second frame. After Orsich singled to center and Thomas Summers drew the first of his three free passes, Zach Timchak dropped down a bunt that was thrown away at third base, giving Clearfield a run.
Summers scored on a wild pitch and Josh Sorbera singled to center for an RBI.
A walk and two infield singles had Janocko in hot water in the third inning, but he recorded a key strikeout and surrendered only one run on a force-out.
After having runners thrown out at home and third base for a weird double play in the fourth inning, Clearfield increased the margin to 5-2 in the fifth on hits by Tanner Elensky, Sorbera and Curt Collins around a pair of errors.
Elensky drew a walk that forced in the Chiefs’ final tally in the sixth.
Then, Orsich walked the first batter he faced, surrendered a single by Hultquist and committed a balk before shutting the door on the Lightning via a flyout and two strikeouts.
The Lightning threatened again in the seventh on two-out singles through the left side by Kane McCall, Lang and Tanner Teconchuck, but Orsich retired Cullen Flaherty on a fly to left field.
HATFIELD LEGION — 2
Tim Dilorato rf-c 3010, Doug Apple lf 3000, Brady West cf 3020, Kadar Namey 1b-eh 2010, Jake Schuster c 1000, Mike Christy ph-3b-ss 1000, Collin Healey eh 1000, Zach Zeigler ph-rf 0100, Bobby Scott 3b-rf-3b 3100, Travis Cook ss 2000, Noah Melehcor ph-1b 1000, John Posavec 2b 3022, Zach Coll p 2000, Ty Smink ph 1000, Dan Carney p 0000. TOTALS: 26 2 6 2.
CLEARFIELD LEGION — 3
Curt Collins 2b 3000, Sawyer Rowles cf 3110, Cole Kephart 3b 3010, Jon Janocko 3100, Tanner Elensky ss 3000, Thomas Summers lf 2000, Brandon Orsich eh 2111, Josh Kennedy rf 2000, Brett Gardner p 2011, Josh Sorbera c 2010. TOTALS: 25 3 5 2.
Score by Innings
Hatfield Legion 000 000 2 – 2 6 0
Clearfield Legion 000 001 2 – 3 5 1
E – Elensky. DP – Hatfield Legion 1 (Cook, Posavec and Namey). LOB – Hatfield Legion 7; Clearfield 4. 2B – West, Posavec; Rowles. Sac – Healey. SB – West; Rowles. CS – Dilorato (by Sorbera).
Hatfield Legion – Coll 6+ IP (faced 2 batters in 7th), 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K; Carney 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.
Clearfield Legion – Gardner 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.
HB – Gardner 1 (Zeigler). PO – Gardner 1 (Namey).
W – Gardner (1-0). L – Carney.
Umpires – Gary Kost (plate) and Bob Buck (bases).
* * * * *
CLEARFIELD LEGION — 6
Collins 2b 4011, Rowles cf 3010, Kephart 3b 2010, Janocko p-1b 2000, Gardner eh-c 3000, Orsich 1b-p 1210, Summers lf 0100, Zach Timchak rf 2100, Elensky ss 2111, Sorbera c-eh 3121, Kennedy eh 3001. TOTALS: 25 6 7 4.
PENNSYLVANIA LIGHTNING — 2
Wes Lang c-2b 4140, Tanner Teconchuck ss 4010, Cullin Flaherty cf-2b-cf 2001, Matt Hultquist 1b 2021, Breck Schneider 3b 3000, Josh Friel p-c 3000, Jared Ruth rf-lf-p-eh 3000, Greg Elliott lf-eh 3000, Tanner Beshaw p 0000, Hunter French 2b-rf 2100, Kane McCall eh-rf-lf 3020. TOTALS: 29 2 9 2.
Score by Innings
Clearfield Legion 030 021 0 – 6 7 0
Pennsylvania Lightning 101 000 0 – 2 9 4
E – Lang 2, Friel, McCall. DP – Clearfield Legion 1 (Kephart, Collins and Janocko); Pennsylvania Lightning 2 (Friel, Ruth and Schneider; Flaherty and Friel). LOB – Clearfield Legion 8; Pennsylvania Lightning 10. 2B – Kephart. Sac – Timchak. SB – Kephart. CS – Rowles (by Lang).
Clearfield Legion – Janocko 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K; Orsich 2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K.
Pennsylvania Lightning – Friel 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K; Ruth 1+ IP (4 batters in 5th) 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 K; Beshaw 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 0 K.
WP – Janocko 1; Friel 3, Ruth 3. Bk – Orsich 1.
W – Janocko (1-0). L – Friel.
Umpires – Scott Viehdorfer (plate) and J.R. Rosselli (bases).