PUNXSUTAWNEY – Runners left on base was the glaring stat that emphasized the difference between winning and losing for the Punxsutawney and Clearfield teams in their Jefferson County Legion League Playoffs opener at Rich Kuntz Field Saturday evening.
While the John Lewis Shade Post 6 Chiefs were stranding 16, including 11 who were in scoring position, Punxsy (17-7) missed few opportunities and emerged with an 11-8 victory to join regular season champion DuBois (17-2) in the winner’s bracket final Sunday.
Meanwhile, Clearfield (17-11) gets a 5:30 p.m. home game against Brookville (7-15), which lost 10-5 at DuBois Friday evening in a game finally halted because of heavy rain after the winners staged a nine-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning.
If the Chiefs advance, they’ll have to go on the road again Monday for the elimination bracket final against the Punxsy-DuBois loser.
Punxsy left only four runners on base but did have three runners thrown out trying to steal second base and another picked off first base, all by back-up catcher Troy Danver, and another erased on a double play.
Danver’s standout effort keyed a defense which made the winners earn all but two of their runs.
And the Chiefs were out-hit only 16-15.
However, starter and loser Ronny Ogden and reliever Derrick Snyder were unable to control the two through five batters in the Punxsy lineup. They combined for 11 hits, nine runs and six runs batted in.
Jordan Mesoraco, Jacob Stumpf and Dane Kopas fronted the attack with two singles and a double apiece and Tommy Bush added a single and a double.
Clearfield kept trading runs through four frames, than was shackled for three innings by Brodi Lowmaster and one by Dylan Kachmar before making it respectable with three runs in the ninth when Derek Danver crushed a two-run triple to deep center and scored on Justin Hoffman’s line drive double into left center.
Lowmaster got the win with his four-hit stint. He struck out two and walked one. Kachmar fanned four in two innings.
Chad Zurat led the Chiefs with three singles. Derek Danver, Jarrett Fulmer, Kyler Kephart, Kyle Timchak and Tyler Jacobson each had a pair of hits, only two of all of those safeties drove in teammates in addition to Danver’s two-run shot.
The second and fourth innings, in particular, were disheartening for Clearfield.
Ahead 2-1, the Chiefs loaded the bases for the top of the lineup with out one in the second, thanks to Punxsy’s only two miscues and a walk. Kyle Neal held them to one run and that came on a third strike passed ball.
Two innings later, Neal plunked Shane Harper and Derek Danver around a single by Fulmer. After a forceout at the plate, Clearfield did manage to tie it at 5-5 on Zurat’s infield hit and Kephart’s sacrifice fly but could have really broken through against Neal, who had made only one start during the regular season.
Then, Punxsy went in front to stay with a two-out run in the lower fourth, Mesoraco rifling a two-bagger up the right center alley to chase home Braedon Pennington, who had singled.
Singles by Stump and Kopas and a safety squeeze by Neal produced one run in the fifth, and Spencer Levy rolled a single through the left side to make it 8-5.
What proved to be the deciding runs came in the sixth, when Clearfield botched a sacrifice bunt. Bush singled through the middle for an RBI and scored on a double to right center by Kopas.
Fulmer kept the Punxsy bats quiet in the seventh and eighth, facing only six batters with the aid of the double play which resulted from a pop-up with a runner on first going on the pitch.
CLEARFIELD — 8
Jarrett Fulmer 2b-p 6220, Derek Danver ss 4322, Justin Hoffman rf 6011, Chad Zurat cf 6131, Kyler Kephart 1b 4022, Ronny Ogden p 0000, Luke Peterson 2b 0000, Kyle Timchak dh 6120, Tyler Jacobson 3b 4020, Troy Danver c 3000, Shane Harper lf 2100, Steve Miller ph 1010. TOTALS: 42 8 15 6.
PUNXSUTAWNEY — 11
Braedon Pennington lf 4210, Jordan Mesoraco 2b-3b-2b 4331, Tommy Bush 3b-1b 4222, Jacob Stumpf cf 4231, Dane Kopas rf 3232, Dylan Kachmar p 0000, Kyle Neal p-2b 2011, Taylor Neal 3b 1000, Tyler Wingard 1b 2000, Brodi Lowmaster p-rf 2000, Dom Bevak c 0000, Spencer Levy dh 2011, Zak Dickey ss 4021. TOTALS: 32 11 16 9.
Score by Innings
Clearfield 210 200 003 – 8 15 2
Punxsutawney 113 123 00x – 11 16 2
Errors – Kephart, Ogden; Mesoraco, Wingard. PB – Bevak. DP – Clearfield 1 (Peterson and Kephart). LOB – Clearfield 16; Punxsutawney 4. 2B – Hoffman, Jacobson; Mesoraco, Bush, Stumpf, Kopas. 3B – D. Danver. Sac – Jacobson; Mesoraco; K. Neal. SF – Kephart; Kopas. SB – Zurat; Kopas, K. Neal, Dickey. CS – Kephart (by K. Neal); Stumpf (by T. Danver); Levy 2 (by T. Danver). PO – Bush (by T. Danver).
Clearfield – Ogden 3-2/3 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 K; Snyder 2-1/3 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K; Fulmer 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.
Punxsutawney – K. Neal 4+ IP (faced 2 batters in fifth), 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K; Lowmaster 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K; Kachmar 2 IP 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K.
HB – Ogden 1 (Bush); K. Neal 3 (D. Danver, Kephart, Harper). WP – Ogden 4; Lowmaster 1, Kachmar 2.
W – Lowmaster. L – Ogden (1-2).
Umpires – Rob Murphy (plate); Gary Barr (bases).