HYDE – One has to wonder how the Clearfield Area High School softball team will react when it finally wins a nail-biter, especially against a quality opponent, but it should be quite a celebration.
Since knocking off returning PIAA Class AAA runner-up Punxsutawney 2-0 in their opener, the Lady Bisons have registered five victories by an average of almost nine runs but have lost every close game.
That number rose to eight Wednesday when two swings by Brooke Klinefelter, one a two-run homer in the eighth inning, lifted once-beaten District 6 Class AA power Bald Eagle Area to a 4-3 win that negated an outstanding effort by Clearfield.
The Lady Bisons, who saw late-inning leads evaporate in their previous two games against District 9 rivals DuBois and Punxsy, met the challenge of playing one of the premier teams in the region, only to depart the Bison Sports Complex with their seventh one-run loss in what has become an unbelievably frustrating season. The other setback was 6-3 at Punxsy Tuesday, when the Lady Chucks rallied for five runs in the sixth inning.
\”Somebody doesn\’t like us up there, I\’ll tell you that,\” said Clearfield coach Bob Dixon, still managing a smile after offering words of encouragement to his dejected players in their post-game meeting behind second base.
He certainly hasn\’t lost any confidence in his squad.
\”They\’re playing great,\” he said. \”And, man, I just think once we get past that hump, whatever it is, or whoever up there doesn\’t like us says okay and let\’s up on us, we\’ll be fine. We can do a lot of damage in the playoffs.\”
Another strong performance by pitcher Mandy Rowles went unrewarded. The sophomore righthander struck out and walked two while surrendering nine hits.
\”That definitely was the best game I\’ve seen Mandy pitch,\” Dixon said. \”She was on. She was hitting her marks, moving the ball around. And the home run. The pitch before, she threw a riser up, and she (Klinefelter) swung and missed. And she throws a changeup in the dirt, and she golfs it out of the park.\”
Klinefelter\’s fifth home run of the season, a high drive to left four pitches after Lauryn Weaver led off the extra frame with a line single to right center, snapped a 2-2 tie.
Still, the Lady Bisons wouldn\’t go down without a fight. Nikki Collins belted a solo home run to dead center and Brittany Pataky rammed a one-out single through the right side for her second hit. However, Megan Shaw quickly wrapped up her seventh win without a loss by retiring Julie Colesar on a fly to right and getting Alyssa Anderson to bounce into a forceout.
Shaw, a sophomore who posted four of BEA\’s 10 season-opening shutouts, gave up nine hits and struck out only three, but she consistently worked ahead in the count and had no walks.
The Lady Eagles staked her to a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Ashley McClain bounced a single into left field and Weaver\’s slow roller to third wound up a hit when Lady Bison Courtney Morgan hesitated and looked to second for a possible force before throwing late to first. Then, Klinefelter, who transferred to BEA last fall after hitting .406 as a freshman at Bellefonte, smashed a hard grounder inside third base that rolled out of play all the way down the left field line for an RBI-double. Courtesy runner Kristy Fisher scored on Morgan Granite\’s groundout.
Clearfield became only the third team to score against BEA when Kenzie McGovern turned Collins\’ bases-loaded liner to left into sacrifice fly by beating McClain\’s strong throw to the plate.
The Lady Bisons tied the score in the sixth. Rowles doubled, her second hit, when McClain lost her high fly in the sun, Pataky singled to right and Julie Colesar plated courtesy runner Ashley Condon with a looping single to right.
Unfortunately, the comeback didn\’t lead to a happy ending, as BEA escaped with its 14th win.
\”They were only scored on twice all year and they only lost one,\” Dixon said. \”We get a key hit or get a break, one or the other… But it just doesn’t seem to be the way things want to work out for us.
\”But I’ll tell you what. They don’t quit. The girls play hard. Their attitude is still good. They’re ready to go. (Thursday) night we play St. Marys here, Senior Night. We don’t need a letdown. It’ll be a tough ball game.\”
Clearfield (6-8) also will be in action Friday at Bellefonte.
BALD EAGLE AREA — 4
Whitney Geidroc rf 4000, Ashley McClain lf 410, Lauryn Weaver c 4230, Brooke Klinefelter 1b 3123, Morgan Granite dp 4001, Courtney Switzer ss 4010, Megan Shaw p 4010, Lindsay Confer rf 3000, Karley Riser 3b 3010, Kendra Geidroc pr 0000, Jasa Mitchell (flex) cf 0000. TOTALS: 33 4 9 4.
CLEARFIELD — 3
Alanna Luzier 2b 4000, Ashley Lias cf 4010, Nikki Collins ss 3112, Mandy Rowles p 4120, Brittany Pataky 1b 3020, Julie Colesar lf 4011, Alyssa Anderson rf 4000, Mallory Janocko dp 3010, Kenzie McGovern c 3110, Courtney Morgan (flex) 3b 0000. TOTALS: 32 3 9 3.
Score by Innings:
BEA 200 000 02 – 4 9 1
Clearfield 001 01 – 3 9 2
Errors – Klinefelter; Collins, Morgan. DP – Clearfield 1 (Rowles to Pataky). LOB – BEA 8; Clearfield 7. Sac – Confer. SF – Collins. CS – Pataky (by Weaver).
BEA – Shaw 8 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.
Clearfield – Rowles 8 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 9 K.
HB – Shaw 1 (Pataky). WP – Rowles 2.
W – Shaw (7-0). L – Rowles (4-7).