HYDE – An improbable comeback by the Clearfield Area High School baseball team went for naught when Bellefonte scored three runs in the seventh inning to slip past the Bisons 15-13 in what turned out to be a Mountain League cross-over thriller at the Bison Sports Complex Thursday.
On the verge of a Mercy Rule shutout defeat going into the bottom of the fifth, the Bisons came to life and erupted for seven runs to make the score respectable, 12-7.
They weren’t finished, though, coming right back with six runs in the sixth to take a one-run lead.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t hold on to what would have been a remarkable victory.
The Red Raiders staged their own rally in the last inning to balance their record at 1-1.
Wyatt Westen, the third of four Clearfield pitchers, got into a jam with a pair of walks after Ethan White led off with his third hit. A groundout by Nate Corrigan got Bellefonte even. Then, with two outs, Kevin Tate came through with a single through the left side for the game-winning RBI, and pinch-hitter Ryan McCloskey ripped the first pitch he saw up the middle for the insurance run.
Taylor Smith issued a walk in the lower seventh but also notched two of his three strikeouts to get the win. He retired six of the last seven Bisons he faced after giving up two hits, including Ronny Ogden’s two-run single that sneaked through the middle to cap Clearfield’s comeback in the sixth inning.
Bellefonte piled up 19 hits, with eight starters contributing at least two apiece, while Clearfield (0-2) mounted a 13-hit attack paced by Ronny Ogden’s double and single for four RBIs and Tanner Ogden’s double and single for three RBIs.
Kyler Kephart, Coleman Kubala and Kurtis Krise each added two singles.
For three innings, the game was a 1-0 duel between Red Raider Tyler Sunday and Ronny Ogden, who also got two quick outs in the fourth before four consecutive hits gave the visitors three more runs.
Tanner Ogden went to the hill in the fifth, and Bellefonte combined six hits with three walks for an eight-run salvo that ended with Dan Roan’s bases-clearing double to deep left center. Because of a Bison misplay, six of the runs were unearned.
“That was a disaster,” Clearfield coach Sid Lansberry said. “We had about four chances of getting out of the inning and keeping the game in hand. All of a sudden, it’s 12-0, and it’s pretty tough to come back.”
But the scrappy Bisons did. Immediately.
After being stymied by Sunday, who had allowed only two hits and one walk while striking out five, they found Roan’s southpaw slants to their liking and cracked seven hits.
Because of the score, Lansberry cleared his bench, and two of the three pinch-hitters got aboard to get the rally going, Matt Josephson slapping a single through the right side and Curtis Collins drawing a walk.
Two wild pitches got the Bisons on the scoreboard, and Krise delivered an RBI-single. Later, Tanner Ogden lined a two-run double into left center and Ronny Ogden whacked a two-out double to deep left. He then scored on Jon Janocko’s single through the box.
Tanner Light didn’t have any more success trying to slow down the stampeding Bisons in the sixth, exiting after hitting Thomas Summers and giving up two walks and two hits, including Tanner Ogden’s RBI-single to left that was misplayed for two additional runs.
Kubala greeted Smith with a single, and Ronny Ogden followed with his hit that gave Clearfield the lead, still with no outs, before the fourth Red Raider hurler settled down to get the last six outs.
“We battled our way back, and I’m proud of that, but we we’ve gotta quit making it so tough,” Lansberry said. “We did the same thing in the game we lost 10-9 (to Norfolk Collegiate). We got down 7-0.
“Our inexperience showed in a lot of different ways. We made some mistakes, and that’s gonna happen, but we’ve got to do the little things better. That’s the key, I think.
“And we have to do everything right defensively. I’m not just talking about errors. I’m talking about overthrowing cutoff men, not being in position to make a play, things that are signs of a young, inexperienced team that came out tonight.”
Clearfield will try for that elusive first win again Friday when Penns Valley visits the Bison Sports Complex for a Mountain League cross-over game.
BELLEFONTE — 15
Taylor Smith ss-p 6121, Jordan Fye 3b-ss 4122, Ethan White 2b 5231, Tyler Sunday p 0000, Tanner Light 1b-p-3b 0000, Seth Weaver dh 4320, Dan Roan 1b-p-1b 3223, Connor Poorman pr 0000, Mike Mann cf 3210, Nate Corrigan lf 5123, Kevin Tate c 4221, Brandon Shuey rf 3121, Ryan McCloskey ph 1011. TOTALS: 38 15 19 13.
CLEARFIELD — 13
Cole Kephart ss 3210, Kyler Kephart 2b-p 4221, Tanner Ogden cf-p-cf 5223, Coleman Kubala 3b 3120, Ronny Ogden p-lf 3124, Jon Janocko 1b 3011, Matt Josephson ph 1110, Wyatt Westen lf-cf-p-2b 3000, Curtis Collins ph 0100, Jonas Kochan c 0000, Thomas Summers dh 2100, Michael Wood ph 1000, Kurtis Krise rf 4221. TOTALS: 32 13 13 10.
Score by Innings
Bellefonte 010 380 3 – 15 19 2
Clearfield 000 076 0 – 13 13 2
Errors – Smith, Corrigan; C. Kephart, Krise. DP – Clearfield 1 (C. Kephart, K. Kephart and Janocko). LOB – Bellefonte 10; Clearfield 5. 2B – White, Roan, Mann; T. Ogden, R. Ogden. CS – Fye (by Kochan); K. Kephart (by Tate).
Bellefonte – Sunday 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K; Roan 1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 K; Light 0 IP (faced 5 batters in 5th), 2 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 0 K; Smith 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K.
Clearfield – R. Ogden 4 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K; T. Ogden .2 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 0 K; Westen 2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K; K. Kephart .1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.
HB – Light 1 (Summers). WP – Sunday 1, Roan 2; Westen 1.
W – Smith. L – Westen (0-1).
Umpires – Garry Shirey (plate) and J.R. Rosselli (bases).