BROCKWAY — Designated-hitter Devin Mesoraco\’s line drive home run to left field snapped a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning and Nick Gillung pitched a complete game as top-seeded Punxsutawney defeated Clearfield 5-2 in the PIAA District 9 Class AAA baseball championship game Wednesday afternoon.
The setback set the Bisons\’ final record at 11-9-1.
Punxsy, which will take a 14-6 record into the PIAA Class AAA Tournament against the District 7 runner-up on Monday, made it a little easier for for Gillung by tacking on two insurance runs in the fifth. Two walks, Chris Reesman\’s liner off second baseman James Zimmerman\’s glove for an RBI-single and a double steal that turned into a run when Dustin Dubensky escaped a rundown to get a safe call in a very close play at home plate.
Gillung retired seven of the last eight Bisons he faced and finished strong despite logging almos 150 pitches. The junior lefthander struck out 10 and walked four.
Clearfield cashed two of the free passes tie the game in the fourth inning. Max Condon and David Welker, the courtesy runner for catcher Beau Ryan, advanced a base on a wild pickoff attempt and scored on Craig Butler\’s clutch liner to right center.
However, the Bisons stranded nine runners, including three in the top of the first when a walk, Zimmerman\’s well-place bunt single and Adam Jury\’s one-hopper through the middle hit the umpire in the chest. Clearfield Coach Sid Lansberry said he wasn\’t sure he would have waved Butler around third had Jury\’s gone into centerfield.
Two strikeouts helped Gillung get out of the jam, and except for the fourth inning, only one other Bisons reached second base.
Lefty Trey Wallace took the loss, allowing eight hits in six-plus innings. He struck out six, walked three and hit one batter before being relieved by Brandon Evans.
\”Wallace pitched very well,\” Lansberry said of his ace. \”He\’s kept us in games all year.\”
Lansberry also tipped his cap to Gillung, who did not pitch in the teams\’ Central Penn League duel won by the Bisons 6-2.
\”He\’s a pretty good pitcher,\” Lansberry said. \”His fastball must move, because we had kids backing away (on strikes).
Lansberry said his 35th Bison team exceeded expectations, then added \”It was disappointing to end that way. I love all six seniors.\”
Jury had two hits and Evans and Kurt Miller each had one for Clearfield.