HYDE — Senior pitcher Andrew Janocko might have erased one of the question marks Clearfield Area High School baseball coach Sid Lansberry had at the start of the season, but the lefthander\’s gutsy performance against Bellefonte went for naught Saturday afternoon at the Bison Sports Complex.
That\’s because fast-working Red Raider ace J.R. Lucas shut out the Bisons on two hits for a 3-0 victory in the Central Penn League makeup game.
Backed by some sterling defensive play and able to work out of early jams with key strikeouts, Janocko made it a scoreless duel until the seventh inning as he put in a strong bid to become the No. 2 starter for the Bisons.
He kept the Red Raiders off the scoreboard – and gave the Bisons a chance to grab what would have been a big CPL win – in spite of allowing six hits and five walks through six frames.
Janocko worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded situation in the first by catching hard-hitting Josh Wensel looking at strike three and inducing Ryan Poorman to ground out to third, with first baseman Brandon Evans making a swiping tag to prevent an error and save a run.
Janocko fanned the side in the second, the third out coming on another called third strike with two runners in scoring position. He stranded another runner in the third by snatching Wensel\’s wicked liner in self defense and then notching the sixth of his seven strikeouts.
Clearfield\’s inner defense came to his rescue in the next three innings. With two Raiders aboard in the fourth, Kyle Kline turned Lance Leathers\’ hot smash just inside the third base bad into an inning-ending out with a dandy stop and throw. With two on and one out in the fifth, second baseman James Zimmerman scooped up Poorman\’s hard grounder to start a double play. With one on in the sixth, Jury grabbed Matt Fisher\’s grounder, stepped on second and fired to Evans for another twinkilling.
\”Andrew pitched well,\” Lansberry said, noting that Janocko was effectively wild at times. \”If he can pitch like that and we can play defense like that we should be okay. But when you do that, you\’ve got to find a way to score runs. I wasn\’t disappointed in anything except our offense. I thought more guys would hit the ball hard, even though the guy is a good pitcher, definitely one of the best in the league.
\”Give Lucas credit. He\’s a good pitcher. I predicted it would be a tough game, because we know him. He beat us last year. He puts the ball where he wants it. He kept the curve ball low and away. He\’s a smart pitcher.\”
Lucas, who pitched the Red Raiders to the District 6 Class AAA championship last year, struck out eight as Bellefonte remained undefeated at 3-0, 2-0 in the CPL. He didn\’t allow any runners except Zimmerman, who sliced a double to right center in the fourth and grounded a single up the middle in the sixth to boost his average to .500.
Bellefonte\’s Denny Leathers also gave his senior righthander high marks.
\”He did a nice job,\” the longtime coach said. \”He mixes his pitches well. He is sneaky. He isn\’t quick, but he does have a nice curve ball and throws a changeup. So he has all three pitches. He does work fast and, generally, he throws strikes.\”
Leathers also tipped his cap to Janocko, saying \”He did a terrific job. His ball apparently was moving a lot, because we certainly were having trouble hitting him.\”
Bellefonte finally broke through against Janocko in the seventh, but not before the Bisons cut down the potential winning run at the plate. Pinch-runner Justin Stoner, who advanced to second when Janocko was off target on a pickoff attempt, got the stop sign at third from Leathers on Seth Trestle\’s single to left, his third hit of the game. However, when Drew Hipps bobbled the ball, Leathers turned on the green light. Hipps quickly recovered and fired to cutoff man Kline, who relayed the ball to catcher Tyler Kirkwood for the second out of the inning.
Tressler moved to second on the play at home, so Lansberry opted to intentionally walk Lucas, the cleanup hitter. Wensel foiled that strategy, though, by lining a two-strike single just inside the bag at third for the game\’s first run, and Poorman drilled a single to left center for the two insurance runs.
Lucas quickly set down the Bisons in the bottom of the seventh on 10 pitches, closing out his gem with two strikeouts.
\”It was a nice game,\” Leathers said. \”Both teams made some nice defensive plays. Those two double plays, I\’m thinking I\’m gonna send the runner. Both times I froze. I didn\’t do it. And we hit right at their athletes for double plays.\”
\”It was 3-0, but you don\’t realize how close a game it was\” Lansberry said. \”We\’ve got to starting winning games like this. Our offense let us down today. We don\’t expect to lose many games this year because, offensively, we didn\’t produce.\”
The Bisons, who fell to 1-1 in the CPL and 1-2 overall, travel to Altoona Tuesday for their only game next week.
The Clearfield junior varsity (2-0) won 12-5 as Josh Rippey had three hits and two RBI, Parker Herrington had two hits and five RBI and Isaac Butler, Jordan Reinke, Justin Hoffman and Tanner St. Clair also had two hits apiece. Rippey, Herrington and Butler belted doubles. Butler pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Herrington to notch the win.
BELLEFONTE — 3
Adam Day ss 2000, Lance Leathers 3b 3010, Justin Stoner pr 0000, Seth Tressler lf 4130, J.R. Lucas p 1110, Josh Wenzel c 4121, Ryan Poorman 1b 4012, Nick Harter cf 0000, Andy Masullo dh 4020, Matt Fisher 2b 3010, Ben Musser rf 3000. TOTALS: 28 3 13 3.
CLEARFIELD — 0
James Zimmerman 2b 3020, Adam Jury ss 3000, Brandon Evans 1b 3000, Kyle Kline 3b 3000, Doug Kephart cf 3000, Drew Hipps lf 2000, Andrew Janocko p-rf 2000, David Ryan rf 0000, Michael Moyer p 0000, Jarrin Campman dh 2000, Tyler Kirkwood c 1000, David Welker pf 1000. TOTALS: 23 0 2 0.
Score by Innings:
Bellefonte 000 000 3 — 3 10 0
Clearfield 000 000 0 — 0 2 0
Error – Janocko. PB – Kirkwood 2. DP – Clearfield 2. LOB – Bellefonte 10; Clearfield 2. 2B – Tressler. SB – Stoner, Masullo, Fisher 2.
Bellefonte – Lucas 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K.
Clearfield – Janocko 6-2/3 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 7 K; Moyer 1-3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.
W – Lucas (2-0). Loser Janocko (0-1).