PHILIPSBURG – After collecting 13 hits in a 5-3 victory over Northern Cambria, the Clearfield Area High School softball team was unable to solve the pinpoint pitching of Philipsburg-Osceola ace Brittany Murphy in the championship game of the Montaineer Tournament Saturday and lost 11-0 in 4-1/2 innings on the varsity diamond.
The Lady Mounties (11-3), who trimmed Hollidaysburg 5-1 in their morning game, proved to the Lady Bisons (8-3) why they are defending PIAA Class AA champions, cracking 10 hits in support of Murphy and taking advantage of nearly every Clearfield misplay to go with a perfect defensive performance.
Murphy, P-O\’s all-time win leader with 63, was near-perfect herself.
The senior righthander struck out seven and went to a three-ball count on only one batter.
The lone ball to reach the outfield grass was Alyssa Anderson\’s ground single to right in the second inning. Two pitches later, standout catcher Taylor Harpster showed off her strong arm in picking Clearfield\’s lone baserunner wandering too far off first base.
Murphy wrapped up her 10th win of the season in 56 pitches, 42 of them strikes.
\”She\’s not overpowering, but she hits her spots consistently, moves the ball in and out, up and down, and changes her speed,\” Lady Bison coach Bob Dixon said in paying tribute to the P-O hurler.
Harpster paced the Lady Mountie attack with two singles and a double, good for five runs batted in.
She gave her batterymate all the runs she needed with a first-inning rocket to the fence in left after Lyndz Kephart was nicked by a Mandy Rowles pitch and Mackenzie Wilson beat out grounder for a hit.
The game got out of hand for the Lady Bisons in the third inning, P-O turning five hits, a hit batsman, three stolen bases and three Clearfield errors into six runs, five of them unearned. Chasity Myers lined a two-run double to left. Harpster, Chelsea Rex and Nikki Bumbarger had RBI-singles.
Harpster singled across two runs in the fourth and scored on one of three Lady Bison errors in the inning, bringing the mercy rule into play for the .
\”You can\’t make mistakes and expect to be in the ball game with them,\” Dixon said. \”They\’re not gonna let you, cause they\’re gonna hammer you. They won\’t quit, and that\’s the way you play ball. They play aggressively, and they\’re out to win. They don\’t care who their opponent is. They\’re gonna destroy them if they can.
\”Once we started going bad, we just kept going bad. The wheels fell off, and we got the wood laid to us. You have games like that.
\”We\’ve just got to pick up our chins and get ready to go. It\’s not the end of the world.\”
Against Northern Cambria (11-3) on the fenceless P-O junior varsity field, Clearfield got off to a great start with nine hits and all five runs in the first three innings.
The Lady Bisons took a 2-0 lead in the first when Megan Butler bunted for a hit, Ashley Lias belted a double over centerfielder Courtney Zernick\’s head and Julie Colesar began her 4-for-4 game with a single up the middle.
Alanna Luzier, who later would have her eight-game hitting streak stopped by Murphy, singled, stole second and scored on Butler\’s line single to center in the second.
Clearfield\’s final runs came in the third. Colesar wound up at third when her hard grounder to center was misplayed, Anderson followed with a double to deep left center and Kenzie McGovern singled to center.
The Lady Colts recorded three of their four hits off Rowles in the lower third, Dee Maurer driving in one run with a triple into the right field corner and then scoring on losing pitcher Cass Kollar\’s groundout.
Northern Cambria might have had an even bigger rally if it wasn\’t for a key defensive play by Lias. The Lady Bison shortstop cut off Steph Paronish\’s single that Luzier deflected and threw out Jenna Bobik trying to advance to third.
\”They didn\’t quit,\” Dixon said. \”They have some nice ball players. They beat us by one here last year.\”
Bobik found the gap in right center and circled the bases for a home run in the fifth inning for the Lady Colts\’ other run.
Rowles, whose hitting streak ended at seven games, set down next eight batters for her eighth win. She struck out seven and walked one.
\”Mandy controlled the game, and our defense was solid,\” Dixon said. \”All of our infielders played a good game.\”
Butler, Lias and Luzier combined for nine assists on grounders.
Butler and Anderson had three hits apiece, teaming with Colesar for all but three of Clearfield\’s safeties.
The Lady Bisons will be at home against DuBois Central Catholic Monday, Bellefonte Wednesday and Brookville Thursday. The latter two games are make-ups of early season postponements.
CLEARFIELD — 5
Alanna Luzier 2b 4110, Megan Butler 3b 4131, Ashley Lias ss 4111, Mandy Rowles p 4000, Julie Colesar 1b 4141, Carrie Harbold pr 0000, Alyssa Anderson cf 4131, Suzie Colesar rf 3000, Courtney Morgan rf 1000, Kenzie McGovern c 3011, Sarah Kovalick lf 3000. TOTALS: 34 5 13 5.
NORTHERN CAMBRIA — 3
Dee Maurer c 3111, Cass Kollar p 3001, Brittany Sedlock 4f 3000, Ashley Baker 1b 3000, Chelsey Laurito 3b 2000, Lauren Ashurst dp 3000, Courtney Zernick cf 3000, Jenna Bobik 2b 2121, Steph Paronish ss 2010, Nikkie Sherry (flex) lf 0000. TOTALS: 24 3 4 3.
Score by Innings
Clearfield 212 000 0 – 5 13 0
Northern Cambria 002 010 0 – 3 4 3
Errors – Laurito, Zernick, Paronish. DP – Northern Cambria 1 (Sherry and Maurer). LOB – Clearfield 8; Northern Cambria 1. 2B – Lias, Anderson. 3B – Maurer. HR – Bobik. SB – Luzier, Butler.
Clearfield – Rowles 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K.
Northern Cambria – Kollar 7 IP, 13 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 5 K.
WP – Kollar 1.
W – Rowles (8-2). L – Kollar (10-3).
Umpires – Tim Rupp (home); Eric Bernier (bases).
+ + + + +
CLEARFIELD — 0
Luzier 2b 2000, Butler sb 3b 2000, Lias ss 2000, Rowles p 2000, J. Colesar 1b 2000, Anderson cf 2010, S. Colesar rf 1000, McGovern c 1000, Kovalick lf 1000. TOTALS: 15 0 1 0.
Kelsey Gonder 3b 3000, Lyndz Kephart lf 2310, Mackenzie Wilson rf 3320, Taylor Harpster c 3235, Katie Confer 1b 3000, Chasity Myers 2b 3112, Chelsea Rex dp 3121, Lauren Stout ss 2100, Nikki Bumbarger cf 2011, Brittany Murphy (flex) p 0000. TOTALS: 24 11 10 10
Score by Innings
Clearfield 000 00 – 0 1 6
Philipsburg-Osceola 206 3x- 11 10 0
Errors – Butler 2, Lias, Rowles, McGovern, Kovalick. LOB – Clearfield 0; Philipsburg-Osceola 3. 2B – Wilson, Harpster, Myers Rex. SB – Kephart, Stout, Bumbarger.
Clearfield – Rowles 4 IP, 10 H, 11 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.
Philipsburg-Osceola – Murphy 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K.
HB – Rowles 2 (Kephart, Stout).
W – Murphy (10-3). L – Rowles (8-3).
Umpires – Jim Rupp (home), Scott Viehdorfer (bases).