ST. MARYS – In a game that was a microcosm of their 2008 season, the Clearfield Bisons stumbled across the finish line with a 6-2 District 9 baseball playoff loss to St. Marys at Berwind Park Friday afternoon.
Limited to five singles by starter and winner Jon Meyer, the Bisons stranded their average of 10 runners, six in scoring position, in the Class AAA semifinal.
\”Yeah, we\’ve been consistent with that,\” coach Sid Lansberry agreed after his 37th Clearfield diamond team closed the books on a 6-15 campaign.
\”The bottom line, looking back at our season, is that we just haven\’t hit good enough to beat people,\” he continued. \”The fact is that we leave so many people on base. The other team seems to come up with the clutch strikeout to get out of the inning, and we just don\’t get those runners in. That\’s hurt us all year.
\”The second half, we played much better defense. And we\’ve had decent pitching.
\”Our hitting just did not pick up like we thought it would.\”
Clearfield was a gap shot away from shaking Meyer\’s confidence in the first two innings, but the junior right-hander used strikeouts to escape two-on, one-out situations without giving up a run.
The Bisons put the first run on the scoreboard without benefit of a hit in the third frame.
Tanner St. Clair, who was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a balk call that negated what would have been a single by Derek Danver, was caught in rundown on Danver\’s comeback. St. Clair eluded a tag long enough for Danver to reach second base, and the freshman third baseman scored on a two-out throwing error.
A defensive gem by Flying Dutch second baseman Dillon Kline cost the Bisons another run. He raced into short right field to make a lunging, over-the-shoulder catch on David Welker\’s looper.
Clearfield\’s 1-0 lead was short-lived.
Shealin Mulcahy led off the lower third with a bunt single, the first hit off Michael Moyer. One out later, Brian Tamburlin bounced a single to left on a perfectly-executed hit-and-run play, and Bison and Moyer nemesis Brett Quiggle lined a double to right center for two runs. The Flying Dutch catcher headed for third on a wild pitch and dove across home plate for the third run after the ball was thrown away.
Moyer, who five-hit the Flying Dutch for Clearfield\’s first win a month ago, gave the Bisons a chance to extend their season until the hosts put up their second three-spot in the fifth inning.
\”I don\’t think Moyer pitched badly at all,\” Lansberry said. \”They got to him a little bit. But when you\’re playing behind the whole game, that makes it tough.\”
St. Marys (14-7) quelled a Clearfield threat in the fourth by turning Jarrin Campman\’s hard shot to Kline into an inning-ending double play.
Lansberry labeled that as a key play, noting \”Campman hit the ball right on the button. That could have resulted in a couple of runs.\”
The Bisons did cash a St. Marys miscue into a run in the fifth, hits by St. Clair and Danver getting Parker Herrington home.
Again, Clearfield failed to apply more pressure, and Meyer wiggled out of the jam with a forceout and two of his seven strikeouts.
\”That\’s a good example of what we\’ve done all year,\” Lansberry pointed out.
And, again, the Flying Dutch came right back.
After Brian Tamburlin doubled to right center, Quiggle drilled a single just inside first base for his third run batted in, matching his hit and RBI totals in the regular-season meeting.
Quiggle then stole second and scored when Josh Schlimm singled through the right side.
\”(Quiggle) is just a good ball player,\” Lansberry said. \”He\’s a good hitter and keeps you honest on the bases.\”
St. Marys added its final tally on after designated hitter Mitchell Straub\’s dribbler outside the third base line took a weird hop into fair territory for a hit. Two of Clearfield\’s four errors sent him to third base, and Jon Petrocchi picked up the RBI on a groundout off Bison reliever Herrington.
Meyer set down the Bisons in order for the only time in the sixth and was lifted by third-year coach Tony Azzato after starting the seventh with his third and four walks to Herrington and St. Clair, respectively.
J.J. Bilodeau, the losing hurler on April 21, came on and earned a save with three quick outs. The husky left-hander got a big assist from Tamburlin who made a spectacular diving grab of Isaac Butler\’s one-out fly after a long run into foul territory.
Moments later, a forceout sealed the Flying Dutch\’s trip to the 9-AAA title game against defending D-9 and state champion Punxsutawney (12-6) next Wednesday. St. Marys will be seeking its first D-9 crown since 2000.
Meantime, Lansberry reflected on what impact the playoff appearance might have on next year\’s Bison team since only three players will be graduating. Center fielder David Ryan and right fielder David Welker played their final game for the Red and Black. Reserve Chris Barr was not available because of a prior commitment.
\”Some people questioned why we even bothered coming in, and this is why,\” he explained. \”You want a close game. It\’s a different atmosphere. There\’s no doubt about it. And it was a tighter game than the 6-2 score indicates. I think it was worthwhile for us to give it a shot.
\”We started out real badly, 0 and 9, but since then we\’ve played .500 ball against good competition.
\”We have a lot of people (coming) back. We\’ve just got to improve offensively if we\’re gonna win.\”
CLEARFIELD — 2
Jarrin Campman 2b 4010, Parker Herrington ss-p 2100, Tanner St. Clair lf 1010, Derek Danver 3b-ss 4111, Isaac Butler dh 4000, Matt Lonjin c 0000, David Welker rf 3000, Justin Hoffman 3b 1000, Michael Moyer p 2010, Kyle Timchak rf 0000, Corey Bookhamer 1b 3010, David Ryan cf 1000, Aaron Sayers ph-cf 2000. TOTALS: 27 2 5 1.
ST. MARYS — 6
Ryan Quinn cf 4000, Brian Tamburlin lf 3220, Brett Quiggle c 3223, Josh Schlimm ss 2021, Mitchell Straub dh 2110, Jon Meyer p 0000, Bilodeau p 0000, Dillon Kline 2b 2000, Jon Petrocchi 3b 3011, John Ackley rf 2000, Ryan Longhi ph 1000, Shealin Mulcahy 1b 3110. TOTALS: 25 6 9 5.
Score by Innings
Clearfield 010 010 0 – 2 5 4
St. Marys 030 030 x – 3 9 3
Errors – Herrington 2, Lonjin, Welker; Schlimm 2, Petrocchi. DP – St. Marys 1 (Kline, Schlimm and Mulcahy). LOB – Clearfield 10; St. Marys 5. 2B – Tamburlin, Quiggle. Sac – Herrington; Kline. SB – Quiggle.
Clearfield – Moyer 4-1/3 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K; Herrington 1-2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K.
St. Marys – Meyer 6+ IP (faced 2 batters in 7th), 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K; Bilodeau 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.
HP – Meyer 1 (St. Clair). WP – Moyer 1. Balk – Meyer 1.
W – Meyer. L – Moyer (3-8). Save – Bilodeau.
Umpires – Glenn Fiebig (home); Gary Barr (first base); Jim McKee (second base); Tim Mahoney (third base).