CLEARFIELD — The Clearfield Chiefs excelled in all three phases of the game again Sunday afternoon to stun Hempfield East 22-3 in a Pennsylvania American Legion Division I Region 7 Tournament winner’s bracket semifinal shortened to seven innings because of the Mercy Rule at the Lawrence Township Recreation Park.
The John Lewis Shade Post 6 team rocked five Hempfield East hurlers for 20 hits, got superb pitching from Jake Sorbera and Tommy Hazel and, for the second day in a row, played errorless defense.
“When you score a bunch of runs early, and your pitchers are sailing along pretty good, the other team gets demoralized,” Clearfield manager Sid Lansberry said. “I think that’s what happened.”
Seth Bumbarger led the hit parade with a double and three singles, driving in three runs and scoring three, while Ty Bender and Bryce Timko had matching lines of three hits, three RBIs and four runs scored. One of Bender’s safeties was a double.
Justin Fedder singled twice and walked twice to end up with three RBIs, and Thayne Morgan added pairs of singles and RBIs.
In all, 11 Chiefs cracked the hit column.
“Our kids seem to love wood bats,” Lansberry said. “We hit like we did in the second half of the season, before we got to the playoffs. We did the same thing in the high school season. It seems like we start to catch fire in the second half.
“We jumped on them early, and the fact that our pitchers were throwing strikes and theirs were not made a big difference.”
Clearfield benefitted 10 walks and two of their three hit batsmen after the third inning, when they opened a 5-0 lead with four runs, two on Timko’s sharp single through the middle, one on Fedder’s single to left and one on a balk.
The Chiefs sent 13 batters to the plate in the fourth, parlaying four hits with six walks, three with the bases full, for eight runs. Back-to-back d oubles by Bumbarger inside first base and Bender to deep left center highlighted the outburst.
With the Mercy Rule already established at 13-0, Clearfield (11-7) kept stretching the margin with pairs of runs in the fifth and sixth frames and five in the seventh.
Meanwhile, Sorbera and Hazel were cruising along.
The two right-handers extended Clearfield’s two-game string of scoreless innings to 13 before the District 13 (Westmoreland County) runners-up, who came into the tourney having outscored 22 opponents 187-70, finally broke through for their runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The only anxious moments for the Chiefs came in the top of the third when Sorbera faced a one-out, bases-loaded situation with the score 1-0. He had issued his lone free pass and allowed two of hits, the second a high chopper to the left side by Harrison Boyle.
He escaped via a pop-up and his fifth strikeout that upped his pitch count to 57 and prompted Lansberry to summon Hazel for his first mound appearance of the season so that Sorbera would be available Wednesday of the Chiefs get that far..
Hazel responded with a solid outing over 3-1/3 innings, fanning five with one walk, one hit and one run allowed before he, too, was pulled due to a pitch count that would enable him to pitch Tuesday if needed.
“Jake and Tommy both had good stints, and both threw hard,” Lansberry said. “We’re in a better position with our pitching than some of the other teams now.
“We can come back with Brandon (Orisich) tomorrow (Monday) and probably let him go up to 120 if he has to.”
Clearfield’s opponent for the 5 p.m. winner’s bracket final will be Beech Creek (17-2), which bounced District 31 champ Bushy Run (21-4) 11-1 in eight innings. The two teams were rivals in the Central Penn League for several seasons before the Chiefs switched when the Jefferson County League was revived.
In elimination bracket action, Cambria County League champ Claysburg (25-2) ousted Blairsville 19-1 in seven innings and Bedford (22-5) ended Jefferson County League kingpin Brookville/Punxsutawney’s season at 12-5 with an 11-1 win in eight innings.
CLEARFIELD — 22
Thayne Morgan lf-2b 5122, Reese Wilson cf 5211, Eli Glass ss 4310, Seth Bumbarger 1b 5343, Brandon Orsich 1b 1100, Ty Bender 5433, Al lan Myers dh 2210, Jake Sorbera p-3b 0100, Alec Graham ph-lf 2011, Bryce Timko rf-p 5433, Harrison Peacock 3b 2001, Tommy Hazel p-rf 2011, Justin Fedder 2b 2123, Nate Barr 2b-3b 2012. TOTALS: 42 22 20 20.
HEMPFIELD EAST — 3
Andrew Rosenberg cf 4121, Harrison Boyle rf 3121, Garrett Stevenson p-ss 4021, Branson Auckerman 3b 2000, John Gennaro ph-2b 2000, Drew Brannon lf-1b 3000, Hunter Eperesi 2b-3b 3000, Zayne Zalich 1b 1000, Robert Borbonus 1b-p 1110, John Borbonus c-p-c 2000, Shane stuchell ss-p 0000, Dom Carrera c-p-lf 3000. TOTALS: 28 3 7 3.
Score by Innings
Clearfield 014 822 5 – 22 20 0
Hempfield East 000 000 0 – 3 7 3
E – Boyle, Gennaro, Stuchell. LOB – Clearfield 13; Hempfield East 7. 2B – Bumbarger, Bender; Boyle. 3B – Rosenberg. SF – Wilson. SB – Morgan, Wilson; Stevenson. CS – Bumbarger (by J. Borbonus).
Clearfield – Sorbera 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K; Hazel 3-1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K; Timko 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.
Hempfield East – Stevenson 2+ IP (faced 1 batter in 3rd), 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K; Stuchell 1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K; J. Borbonus 0+ IP (faced 8 batters in 4th), 3 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 5 BB, 0 K; Carrera 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K; R. Borbonus 2 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K.
HB – Stevenson 1 (Morgan), Carrera 1 (Sorbera), R. Borbonus 1 (Wilson). WP – J. Borbonus 1, R. Borbonus 3. Balk – Stu
W – Hazel (1-0). L – Stevenson.
Umpires – Cody Cogan (plate) and Mike Zimmerman (bases).