HYDE – Clearfield Area High School baseball coach Sid Lansberry didn’t need to check the scorebook to verify that his team’s hitting slump continued into a fourth game Thursday.
“We didn’t hit the ball good enough to win,” he said after the Bisons were limited to six hits, four in the last inning, in losing to Altoona for the second time in five days.
The Mountain Lions, who triumphed 8-1 in the Altoona Curve Classic championship game Sunday, rode Matt Frederick’s pitching and a 15-hit attack to an 11-6 victory at the Bison Sports Complex.
Clearfield came into this week atop the Central Penn League at 4-0 and still was very much in contention for the title after being shut out 9-0 by Williamsport’s Kyle Schneider Monday.
A 14-1 loss at St. Marys Wednesday meant the Bisons would need some help, but Altoona knocked them out of the race and left them with a final record of 4-3 for their last year in the circuit often hailed as one of the best in the state.
Frederick joined a growing list of starters who have silenced the Clearfield bats, allowing only two hits through six innings.
Going to the final inning, the Bisons had registered just 14 hits and four runs in their last 24 innings after averaging 10 hits and more than seven runs during their five-game winning streak that seems weeks and not just days ago.
Doubles by Justin Hoffman and Chad Zurat and singles by Andrew Redden and Derek Danver off Mountain Lion reliever Scott Lytle helped produce four runs that only made the score respectable.
Danver had the lone RBI as Redden scored on an error, Matt Lonjin on a passed ball and Zurat on a balk.
The outcome pretty much was decided back in the third inning, when Altoona (6-1) batted around against loser Kurtis Krise.
The big blow was K.J. Walters’ three-run homer to left field that put the Mountain Lions in front 4-2. Their first circuit clout of the season was followed by Matt McDonald’s line drive over the right center fence.
Singles by Josh Adams and Will Walter and a walk to Trevor Bush loaded the bases for Nate Clancy, who slapped a single to right that effected a Clearfield pitching change. Zurat came in from center field and got out of the one-out jam giving up only a sacrifice fly by Helsel.
“We probably left Krise in two batters too long,” Lansberry said. “When it was 5-2, you think you’re still in the game. It’s still early. But then, bang, bang, bang, three more singles there.
“You hate to bring Chad in not having warmed up. That’s the trouble when you have pitchers who play. And there was no reason to have him ready until that point.”
Both teams had tallied a singleton in the first inning, the Mountain Lions on Jordan Sneed’s hard grounder to right after Helsel had walked and stolen two bases and the Bisons on a walk, Justin Hoffman’s sacrifice bunt and Redden’s solid single through the middle.
“That was textbook,” Lansberry described the Clearfield run. “But other than that, we didn’t do much until the last inning.”
The Bisons did go ahead 2-1 in the second. Zurat singled, stole second and scored when Frederick fired high and wide to first on Shane Harper’s swinging bunt.
Frederick held the Bisons hitless the next four innings. He walked three.
Zurat was equally tough, retiring 10 of the first 11 Mountain Lions he faced before Sneed lined a double to left and Walters singled through the right side for a two-out run in the sixth.
Helsel sliced a double into the right field corner for two RBIs and scored on J.R. Gearhart’s double to left center in the seventh.
“One thing, we didn’t kick the ball around,” Lansberry said. “We didn’t give it away. They hit the ball.”
The first five Mountain Lion batters had two hits apiece.
Clearfield (5-5) will be at home again Monday for a non-league game against West Branch.
In the junior varsity game, Levi Picard’s one-out triple and Kyler Kephart’s single in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Bisons of coaches Don Shimmel and Brandon Billotte a 9-8 win for a 3-2 record.
Picard doubled home two runs earlier, while Curtis Frye had two singles and Seth Hainsey also doubled.
Derrick Snyder was the winning pitcher.
Central Penn League – State College 3-1, Hollidaysburg 2-1, Altoona 2-1, Clearfield 4-3, Williamsport 1-1, Punxsutawney 1-3, St. Marys 1-2, DuBois 0-2.
ALTOONA — 11
Christian Helsel ss-p 3323, J.R. Gearhart cf 5121, Jordan Sneed 1b 4121, K.J. Walters c 4124, Matt McDonald rf 4121, Josh Adams 2b-ss 3110, Craig McCloskey ph 1000, Matt Frederick p 0000, Will Walter dh 3110, Scott Lytle ph-p-2b 1000, Trevor Bush lf 2000, Tyson Steele ph 1110, Nate Clancy 3b 3011, Matt Watson ph 1110. TOTALS: 35 11 15 11.
CLEARFIELD — 0
Kurtis Krise p 0000, Justyn Knepp lf 0000, Jarrett Fulmer dh 4100, Justin Hoffman rf 3110, Andrew Redden 1b 4121, Derek Danver ss 3011, Tyler Jacobson 3b 3000, Matt Lonjin c 4100, Chad Zurat cf-p 2210, Isaac Butler ph 1000, Shane Harper lf 2000, Garrett Samsel ph 0000, Wil Beauseigneur ph 0000, Luke Peterson 2b 1000, Trevor Flanagan ph 0000, Maverick Vanderburgh ph 1000. TOTALS: 28 6 6 2.
Score by Innings
Altoona 106 001 3 – 11 15 4
Clearfield 110 000 4 – 6 6 1
Errors – Adams 2, Frederick, Clancy; Harper. LOB – Altoona 7; Clearfield 10. 2B – Helsel, Gearhart; Sneed; Hoffman, Zurat. HR – Walter (1), McDonald (1). Sac – Hoffman, Peterson. SF – Helsel. SB – Helsel, Clancy; Zurat.
Altoona – Frederick 6 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 2 K; Lytle 2/3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K; Helsel 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.
Clearfield – Krise 2-1/3 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 K; Zurat 4-2/3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 R, 1 BB, 3 K.
HB – Krise 1 (Helsel). WP – Zurat 1. Balk – Lytle 1.
W – Frederick (2-0). L – Krise (1-1).
Umpires – Scott Viehdorfer (plate); Al Fricke (bases).