ALTOONA — In his many years as a player and 36 seasons as Clearfield Area High School baseball coach, Sid Lansberry has seen his share of crazy action, but never a weird play like the one that ended Tuesday\’s Central Penn League game in the bottom of the eighth inning at Mansion Park.
Unfortunately, it resulted in the run that gave Altoona a 2-1 victory and Clearfield its second agonizing defeat in four days.
One-out singles by John Snyder and Tyler Stiffler put runners on the corners, so Lansberry pulled in his defense. Bison relief pitcher Michael Moyer induced Ryan Beasom to hit a grounder to second baseman James Zimmerman, whose throw home was in plenty of time to nail Snyder.
However, the umpire made no call when Bison catcher Tyler Kirkwood attempted to make the tag. Lansberry said Snyder ran around Kirkwood and all the way to the backstop, changed directions twice with Kirkwood in pursuit and then, after Kirkwood bumped into the umpire, touched the plate for the winning run.
\”I\’ve seen guys go out around home plate, but there\’s got to be a limit,\” Lansberry said. \”Can you go all the way to the backstop? I don\’t know. I was really upset, but the umpire just left the field.
\”Tyler said he had tagged the guy on the way in, but that would have been only the second out, so we still might not have won. But that\’s a real tough one.\”
The scoreless mound duel between Clearfield\’s Brandon Evans and Altoona\’s Jeff Vaughn ended in the sixth inning when both teams scored, the Bisons on back-to-back doubles by Zimmerman and Adam Jury and the Mountain Lions on a single by Tyler Neff and a double by Jordan Becker. Snyder followed with a hit, but shortstop Jury threw out Becker trying to score before the Bisons turned one of their two double plays to preserve the 1-1 tie.
In the top of the eighth, Jury singled and was running on a 3-2 count when Evans slugged a double over the rightfielder\’s head. However, the Mountain Lions made two good relay throws to prevent Jury from scoring the go-ahead run.
\”You\’ve got to send him in that situation,\” Lansberry said. \”He was out on a bang-bang play.\”
Then came the unhappy ending that dropped the Bisons to 1-2 in the CPL and 1-3 overall. Moyer suffered the tough-luck loss after relieving Evans in the seventh.
\”This is the best 1-3 team I\’ve ever had,\” said Lansberry, who likened the setback to Saturday\’s 3-0 to Bellefonte that was decided in the seventh inning. \”We\’re getting good pitching and we\’re playing real good defense. We\’re just not scoring runs.
\”We hit some hard shots, but they made some good plays, too. They\’re an excellent defensive team, and Stiffler is an outstanding shortstop.
\”Both of their kids are pretty decent pitchers. We had eight hits, but we couldn\’t bunch them together. We had chances to score. We just didn\’t.\”
Jury, Evans and Andrew Janocko had two safeties apiece for the Bisons.
Neff, who replaced Vaughn on the hill in the seventh, got the win for 3-0 Altoona, which is 2-0 in the CPL.
Clearfield is off until playing Curwensville Monday in the first of three home games next week. The Bisons will host CPL and District 9 Class AAA rival Punxsutawney Wednesday and Somerset Friday.
CLEARFIELD — 1
James Zimmerman 2b 4010, David Welker pr 0100, Adam Jury ss 4021, Brandon Evans p-1b 3020, Kyle Kline 3b 2000, Doug Kephart cf 3000, Drew Hipps lf 3010, Andrew Janocko rf 3020, Lucas Malloy 1b 0000, Michael Moyer p 0000, Jarrin Campman dh 3000, Tyler Kirkwood c 3000. TOTALS: 28 1 8 1.
ALTOONA — 2
Jordan Becker cf 4011, John Snyder 3b 3120, Tyler Stiffler ss 4010, Ryan Beasom 1b 4001, Adam Veckov rf 3010, K.J. Walters c 2010, Jeff Vaughn p 1000, Mummert lf 0000, Chris Perry dh 2000, Mason Stevens 2b 2000, Dan Brandt lf 1000, Tyler Neff lf-p 2110. TOTALS: 28 2 7 2.
Score by Innings:
Clearfield 000 001 00 – 1 8 1
Altoona 000 001 01 – 2 7 0
Error – Kline. PB – Kirkwood 2. DP – Clearfield 2. LOB – Clearfield 5; Altoona 6. 2B – Zimmerman, Jury, Evans; Becker, Walters.
Clearfield – Evans 6 IP (pitched to 1 batter in 7th, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K; Moyer 1-1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.
Altoona – Vaughn 6-1/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K; Neff 1-2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.
W – Neff (2-0). L – Moyer (0-1).