HYDE – With Andrea Butler nursing a blister on the index finger of her throwing hand, Clearfield Area High School softball coach Bob Dixon decided to give freshman B.J. Bowman her first varsity start in the circle Friday afternoon.
However, he had to switch to Plan B after arriving at the Bison Sports Complex and learning Bowman was not feeling well.
\”I find out she\’s been sick in school all day,\” Dixon said. \”She warmed up. She was gonna give it a go. But, then, she said she just couldn\’t pitch. So she DPed for us. You can\’t take that bat out of the lineup. Even sick, we need her.\”
That meant handing the ball to Butler and juggling a lineup that was missing senior regulars Megan Butler and Julie Colesar, who had scheduled college orientation on what had been an open date on Clearfield\’s original schedule.
Plan B couldn\’t have worked out any better for the make-up with Hollidaysburg.
Bowman, who was lying under a blanket on the dugout bench while her teammates went through pre-game drills, might have been too sick to pitch, but she wasn\’t about to miss a turn at the plate.
And she came through with a towering two-run homer run to left center in the sixth inning that was the deciding blow as the Lady Bisons vacated the Central Penn League basement with their first win of the season, 11-9.
Bowman\’s third homer in as many games rewarded classmate Andrea Butler with her first varsity victory.
If the blister was bothering the right-hander, she didn\’t show it, walking only two while giving up seven hits and just two earned runs.
\”She worked through it,\” Dixon said. \”She battled the whole night.\”
Clearfield, which had lost four in a row, all in the CPL, refused to lose this one, coming from behind three times.
The Bisons led for the first time this season when Chantel Read ripped a two-run double to left center in the second inning, but they gave the Lady Tigers four runs in the top of the third with four errors.
Butler almost worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation with two pop-ups, one behind the plate on which Read made a difficult grab. But three Lady Bisons miscues on the same play made it 4-2.
Janell Zalno and Suzie Colesar doubled and scored on wild pitches in the lower third, creating the first of two ties.
Each team posted three runs in the fourth.
The Lady Tigers were aided by two more Lady Bison errors before Mackenzie Walter lined a two-run triple to left.
Clearfield got runs on a passed ball, a Melinda Owens groundout and a wild pitch after loading the bases with a walk and singles by Laura Jean Hill and pinch-hitter Mia Keener.
In the fifth, Hollidaysburg reclaimed the lead at 9-7 on a two-run double by losing hurler Kelsey Salyards and had a chance to break the game open when Megan Bettwy followed with a single to left. Kelsy Power sacrificed, but Butler stranded the two runners in scoring position with her fourth strikeout and a groundout.
Colesar made it a one-run game when she walked and scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the frame.
Butler delivered only three pitches in the sixth. After surrendering a lead-off single to Walter, she made an outstanding grab on Meredith Smith\’s bunt pop-up for an easy double play. Then, Sophie Reed ranged into right center to track down Jackie Smith\’s bid for a hit.
\”That was big, to get us off the field, because we needed a break like that to throw a goose-egg at \’em and give us a chance to get ahead,\” Dixon said.
The Lady Bisons didn\’t waste the opportunity, getting the job done with two outs.
Owens laced a clutch double that fell just inside the foul line in deep left to drive in Keener with the tying run before Bowman launched her home run.
Clearfield closed it with good defense.
Zalno, moved from left field to center, sprinted in to deny Amber Lemus a hit with an outstanding catch. Then, after walking Salyards, Butler turned Bettwy\’s soft liner into a game-ending double play.
The only Lady Bison with two hits was left fielder Hill, a first-time starter along with Reed and third baseman Kaitlin Adamson.
\”We were missing two starters, so we ended up moving people around and putting in people that are back-ups, and they did a good job,\” Dixon said. \”They got a chance and showed why they deserved to play.
\”It was a good, solid team effort. They didn\’t quit. Being a young team, that\’s a good sign. They just will not give up.
\”I\’m really proud of them. They deserved to win. They\’ve been battling all season.
\”To get that first one, especially those young kids, is really going to help. Hopefully, we\’ll get a few more now.\”
On Monday, the Lady Bisons will welcome Williamsport, like Hollidaysburg a newcomer to their schedule, in another CPL game.
The Clearfield junior varsity triumphed 13-1 for its second win in a row.
HOLLIDAYSBURG — 9
Mackenzie Walter rf 4022, Meredith Smith ss 4000, Jackie Smith 1b 4210, Amber Lemus cf 3100, Kelsey Salyards p 2112, Megan Bettwy lf 3110, Kelsey Power c 1110, Jenna Flick 3b 2210, Alexas Claar 2b 3100. TOTALS: 26 9 7 4.
CLEARFIELD — 11
Janell Zalno cf 4110, Melinda Owens ss 4112, B.J. Bowman 3112, Suzie Colesar 2210, Andrea Butler p 2110, Courtney Morgan 2b 3100, Chantel Read c 2112, Laura Jean Hill lf 3120, Kaitlin Adamson 3b 1000, Keener ph-3b 1210, Sophie Reed rf (flex) 0000. TOTALS: 25 11 9 6.
Score by Innings:
Hollidaysburg 004 320 0 – 9 7 1
Clearfield 022 313 x – 11 9 6
E – Salyards; Butler 2, PB – Power 4. DP – Clearfield 2 (Butler and Morgan; Butler and Colesar). LOB – Altoona 3; Clearfield 2. 2B – Salyards; Zalno, Colesar, Read, Owens. 3B – Walter. HR – Bowman (3). Sac – Bettwy, Power 2; Keener. SB – Fleck 2. CS – Bowman.
Hollidaysburg – Salyards 6 IP, 9 H, 11 R, 8 ER, 5 BB, 4 K.
Clearfield – Butler 7 IP, 7 H, 9 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.
HB – Butler 1 (Lemus). WP – Salyards 7; Butler 1.
W – Butler (1-3). L – Salyards (0-2).
Umpires – Scott Viehdorfer (home plate); Al Fricke (bases).