HYDE – Coaches, forever, have been preaching to their athletes that they will play the way they practice.
The Clearfield Lady Bisons proved that to be true once again Wednesday night in ringing up their first District 9 Northern Allegany League Big School Division softball victory.
They kept Tristan Lewis, making her varsity debut in the circle, in the game and then rewarded Andrea Butler\’s strong relief pitching by coming from behind for the second time to down Bradford 7-4 at the Bison Sports Complex.
\”(Tuesday) night, I thought, was the best practice we\’ve had outside,\” coach Bob Dixon said after the Lady Bisons posted only their second win in nine games.
\”We actually took the first five, 10 minutes and talked to them about focusing their game when they\’re here, because when we went up to DuBois (Monday), in our pre-game workout, we did not look good.
\”Tonight, they came out, and they looked better, like they were ready to go.
\”Then, the second half of practice (Tuesday) night, we talked to them about focusing in the batter\’s box. It doesn\’t matter what you hear out around you, get rid of all of that and stay in there and hit.
\”They worked hard. They had a great practice. And it showed. We hit the ball well.\”
Senior third baseman Megan Butler, who had only two hits in five games, sparked a 12-hit attack with four singles.
Janell Zalno, Melinda Owens and Chantel Read chimed in with pairs of singles.
Clearfield never led, though, until senior Julie Colesar ripped a double off the left field fence to plate Zalno and younger sister Suzie skied to left for a sacrifice fly that scored Megan Butler for a 5-4 edge in the fifth inning.
\”Julie Colesar had hit the ball hard five games in a row and, finally, got a ball to drop,\” Dixon said. \”She\’s had some hard luck. Every time she hit, it\’s been right at somebody.\”
Owens\’ two-run single through the left side in the sixth provided some cushion for Andrea Butler, who blanked the Lady Owls on one hit and struck out two over 2-2/3 innings to pick up her second win.
Bradford, 0-3 in the D9NAL and 1-9 overall, might have caused some problems in the top of the sixth except for two good defensive plays.
Read threw out Kristin Dittman on a steal attempt after the speedy Lady Owl bunted her way aboard for the second time. Then, Owens denied Michelle Keane a hit on a grounder to short by getting the out on a bang-bang play at first.
\”And Chantel came up and took two steps before she threw,\” Dixon pointed out. \”We\’re working for her to come straight up, set herself and throw. She\’s got a good arm.\”
He added the junior transfer from Curwensville is showing improvement in keeping low pitches in front of her, something assistant coach Rodger Porter has worked on with Read and freshman Mackenzie Moore.
\”She went down and blocked one like she\’s supposed to,\” he explained. \”I was so happy to see that.
\”It\’s starting to catch on. These girls are picking things up.\”
Lewis had only one easy inning, pitching out of bases-loaded situations in the first and third innings after issuing pairs of walks and giving up run-scoring hits by losing hurler Jessie Mascho and Ashlie Harrington.
Dittman raced home from second on Tate Slaven\’s second hit to put the Lady Owls ahead 3-1 in the fourth.
Clearfield got even with two gift runs in the bottom of the inning. A mix-up in the outfield resulted in Read\’s high fly to short left center dropping for an RBI-double, and a throwing error brought in the tying run.
Dixon made the pitching change after Mascho lined a two-bagger to left and Meagan Hillard reached base on a one-out bunt on which the Bisons made no play.
Andrea Butler fanned the next two batters but did surrender the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.
However, her teammates bailed her out by answering with two runs.
\”Tristan did a real nice job for the first time she\’s been on the field as a varsity player,\” Dixon said. \”I asked her before the game if she was nervous. She said, \’Only a little bit nervous.\’
\”Between innings, I would ask her if she still was nervous. She never got over those first-game jitters, but I thought she gave us four solid innings.
\”It\’s a good learning experience for her. It\’s gonna build character. Down the line, this will be old hat for her.\”
Both pitchers are freshmen, as are Owens, outfielder Mia Keener and Rachel Cordon, who got her first taste of varsity action as the designated player.
\”A lot of these kids, it\’s their first season on varsity, or they\’re freshmen, but I\’m really proud of them,\” Dixon said. \”It\’s a blast to coach them. They have a great attitude. They want to get better. They really do.\”
Clearfield visits St. Marys Thursday and closes out the four-game week with a trip to Spring Mills Friday to take on District 6 Class AA contender Penns Valley in a game arranged after it was learned Hollidaysburg would not be able to field a team.
BRADFORD — 4
Kristin Dittman cf 4120, Michelle Keane ss 2200, Tate Slaven c 4021, Brit Harsen 3b 3000, Jessie Mascho p 3121, Ashlie Harrington 1b 2011, Meagan Hillard 2b 4000, Amber Abers lf 4000, Meghan Hollenbeck rf 3000. TOTALS: 29 4 7 3.
CLEARFIELD — 7
Janell Zalno cf 4220, Melinda Owens ss 4122, Megan Butler 3b 4141, Julie Colesar 1b 4011, Suzie Colesar lf 1111, Rachel Cordon dp 3000, Chantel Read c 3121, Courtney Morgan 2b 3000, Mia Keener rf 3100, Tristan Lewis p (flex) 0000, Andrea Butler p (flex) 0000. TOTALS: 29 7 12 6.
Score by Innings
Bradford 101 110 0 – 4 7 3
Clearfield 001 222 x – 7 12 3
Errors – Dittman, Harsen, Harrington; M. Butler, J. Colesar, S. Colesar. DP – Bradford 1 (Keane and Dittman). LOB – Bradford 10; Clearfield 6. 2B – Mascho; Owens, J. Colesar. Sac – Keane. SF – S. Colesar. SB – Hillard. CS – Dittman (by Read).
Bradford – Mascho 6 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K.
Clearfield – Lewis 4-1/3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K; A. Butler 2-2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K.
WP – Mascho 4; Lewis 1, A. Butler 2.
W – A. Butler (2-5). L – Mascho.
Umpires – Jeff Aveni (home plate); Jim McKee (bases).