CLEARFIELD — The Clearfield Little League 11-and-12 All-Stars parlayed timely hitting and flawless defense with the strong pitching of David Gangewere to defeat Tri-County 7-2 in the District 5 Northern Tier elimination bracket finale at McNamee Field Monday evening.
The third victory in five days earned Coach Chuck Robison\’s team a rematch with Philipsburg-Osceola Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Philipsburg\’s Homer Maney Memorial Field. At 3-0, P-O can claim the tier championship with a victory. Clearfield, 3-1, must avenge its opening game 6-2 loss to force a winner-take-all contest at Clearfield Thursday.
Tri-County, which finished 2-2, put pressure on the hosts early. Tyler Howell belted a long home run to center field in the second inning and Lance Williams walked and scored on singles by J.D. Dorminy and Caleb Snyder in the third.
Another walk loaded the bases with visitors, but Gangewere got out of the jam on a groundout and proceeded
to shut the door on the losers over the last three innings, facing only 10 batters. The righthander earned his second win of the tourney with a three-hitter, striking out four and walking four.
Clearfield got even with one swing of Justin Kanouff\’s bat in the bottom of the third frame. He deposited his second homer of the tourney to left center. Ryan Hertlein, whose pop fly fell between the mound and second base for a hit, trotted home ahead of Kanouff.
The winners capitalized on four Tri-County errors for two runs in the fourth and then pulled away with three in the fifth, Curtis Frye driving in a pair with a hard single past shortstop and scoring on Levi Picard\’s fly ball hit to short right.
Kanouff and Frye had two hits apiece, and Jimmy Jordan accounted for the other hit off loser Dorminy and Snyder.
Clearfield\’s perfect defensive play was highlighted by a pair of gems. First baseman Robert Lombardo reached down to stab Adam Karas\’ line drive just inside the bag in the fourth. Rightfielder Alex Weaver made an even more impressive grab in the seventh when he dove to rob Tyler Howell of a hit.