HYDE — A dominating mound performance by Punxsutawney junior Christian Muth didn\’t leave the Clearfield Area High School baseball team with many positives to take away from Wednesday\’s Central Penn League game at the Bison Sports Complex.
Muth, ignoring the drizzle, sleet and then heavy rains, silenced the Bison bats, surrendering only two hits and striking out eight as the Chucks prevailed 10-1.
Because of deteriorating playing conditions, the umpires halted play after Muth struck out the side in the fifth inning. That might have kept some Bison batting averages from dipping lower, because the righthander seemed to get stronger with every inning. Five of his strikeouts came in the last two frames.
\”For a little kid, he was pretty impressive,\” Clearfield coach Sid Lansberry said. \”He threw hard. I thought he was throwing in the mid-80s. He worked fast, too. That helps your defense. It really does. Your guys are alert. And they played well defensively.\”
An encouraging first start by sophomore hurler Michael Moyer and the continuation of James Zimmerman\’s hitting streak were Clearfield\’s bright spots on the dreary day.
Moyer was tagged with the defeat but showed promise by setting down the first seven batters he faced before the Chucks turned three walks into runs during a four-run third inning. The righthander bounced back with a strong fourth inning. However, a one-out infield error and another walk got him trouble in the fifth, and he was lifted with the score 5-1. He gave up only three hits.
\”I thought it was a good outing for a sophomore in his first start against a pretty good team, so I\’m not disappointed in his performance at all,\” Lansberry said after the Bisons fell to 1-3 in the CPL and 2-4 overall. \”He kept us in the game.\”
Lansberry was not so happy with the way his team performed in the field.
\”I thought we let down a little bit after the third inning, and we made some mistakes we haven\’t made all year,\” he said. \”We\’ve prided ourselves in our defense until today. And we got sloppy. It could have been the conditions, but I can\’t buy that. We practice in this kind of stuff all the time. It should give us an advantage, but tonight I was very disappointed in how we played after the third inning, moreso than with the score or the outcome of the game.\”
Punxsy, which was coming off an 11-0 home loss to Huntingdon Tuesday, broke through against Moyer in the third after Chad Davis broke up his no-no with a single to right. Three consecutive walks forced in the first run, Chris Reeseman getting the gift RBI. Nick Gillung followed with a high fly that fell at the base of fence in left for a two-run double. Matt Lovelace\’s grounder produced the fourth tally.
Clearfield threatened to make it interesting in the bottom of the of the inning, loading the bases when Justin Karp\’s grounder was booted, Tyler Kirkwood walked and Zimmerman rapped a sharp single to center. Adam Jury, who singled in the first inning for the only other Bison hit, plated Karp with a fly ball to right center, but Muth was unhittable the rest of the way.
Zimmerman has had at least one hit in every game for a .455 average, and Jury is close behind at .444.
The senior-dominated Chucks, off to a 3-1 start with a 2-1 CPL record, made the umpires\’ decision for an early finish an easy one by scoring six runs, all unearned, in the fifth.
Reeseman\’s slow roller was booted, Gillung walked and, after a double steal, Lovelace singled to left for a run. Senior Doug Kephart relieved and got the second out on a comebacker. Then, he walked Zack Martin to load the bases, and David Pisano promptly cleared them by slicing a liner past diving rightfielder Andrew Janocko for a triple. Davis followed with an RBI-single to right, advanced to third on Muth\’s double down the left field line and scored on a botched pickoff attempt.
The Bisons, who might see the defending champion Chucks again in the District 9 Class AAA Playoffs, will try to bounce back Friday when they host Somerset in a non-league game.
The junior varsity game also was shortened to five full innings because of the inclement weather, as Clearfield\’s underclassmen improved to 4-1 with a 14-6 win. Jarrin Campman, Kyle Timchak and Tanner St. Clair collected three hits apiece for the Bisons. Campman and Josh Rippey belted pairs of doubles. Corey Bookhamer was the winning pitcher.
PUNXSUTAWNEY — 10
Devin Mesoraco c 2100, Alex Cressley ph-1b 1000, Chris Reeseman lf 2201, Nick Gillung cf 2112, Austin Furman 3b 0000, Matt Lovelace dh 3112, Zach Smith 2b 3000, Zack Martin 1b-c 2100, David Pisano rf 3113, Chad Davis ss 3221, Christian Muth p 2110. TOTALS: 23 10 6 9.
CLEARFIELD — 1
James Zimmerman 2b 3010, Adam Jury ss 1011, Brandon Evans 1b 2000, Kyle Kline 3b 2000, Doug Kephart cf-p 2000, Drew Hipps lf 2000, Michael Moyer p 0000, David Ryan cf 0000, Justin Karp dh 2100, Andrew Janocko rf 1000, Alex Billotte ph 1000, Tyler Kirkwood c 0000, David Welker ph 1000. TOTALS: 17 1 2 1.
Score by Innings:
Punxsutawney 004 06 – 10 6 2
Clearfield 001 00 – 1 2 3
Errors – Smith, Davis; Zimmerman, Kline, Moyer. PB – Mesoraco. DP – Punxsutawney 1. LOB – Punxsutawney 3; Clearfield 3. 2B – Gillung, Muth. 3B – Pisano. SF – Jury. SB – Reeseman 2, Gillung, Martin, Davis.
Punxsutawney – Muth 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K.
Clearfield – Moyer 4-1/3 IP, 3 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 K; Kephart 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K.
W – Muth (2-0). L – Moyer (0-2).