CLEARFIELD – Matt Collins belted two home runs, one a grand slam, for the Clearfield Little League 11-12 All-Stars in their bid to claim the District 5 Northern Tier championship at McNamee Field Tuesday evening, but Four-Leaf Clover countered with a trio of dingers good for eight RBIs and triumphed 13-9 to force a winner-take-all showdown Thursday.
Three-run homers by Luke McGonigal and Jesse Thompson, a mammoth two-run blast into the river by Ty Bender and a five-RBI performance by Dylan Confer propelled Four-Leaf Clover (5-1) to its fourth consecutive victory in the double-elimination tourney.
Clearfield (2-1) will travel to Frenchville for the deciding game, with the winner advancing to the district finals against Bellefonte (4-0), which grabbed the Southern Title with a 6-5 squeaker over State College National Tuesday.
Four-Leaf Clover piled up nine runs in its first two at-bats.
Confer came through with two-run singles in both innings, while McGonigal and Bender connected for their homers in the seven-run second when the first eight batters rapped hits.
Collins got Clearfield back into the game with his grand slam to right off reliever Zane Morgan in the lower second. Michael Ternoway’s liner that handcuffed shortstop Confer and walks to Matt Ryan and Wyatt Porter had loaded the sacks against Thompson.
Morgan settled down and would have registered his third consecutive scoreless inning in the fifth were it not for a two-out error that allowed Ryan and Josh Serena to score.
Collins followed with his fourth homer of the tourney, narrowing Clearfield’s deficit to 13-8, and he was on deck as the potential tying run in the bottom of the sixth when Confer backhanded Jeremy Learish’s one-hopper for the final out.
Noah Bloom and Ternoway had greeted Confer with singles to right, but he induced a flyout and a forceout before giving up a double to the center field fence by Serena for Clearfield’s final run.
Four-Leaf Clover’s other tallies came in the fourth when Thompson reached third base on two errors and scored on Confer’s grounder to the right side and in the fifth when Thompson drilled his home run to center with Thayne Morgan and Jimmy Pilosky aboard via singles.
Every Four-Leaf Clover starter had at least one hit, with Thayne Morgan collecting thee and McGonigal, Bender, Pilosky, Thompson, Confer and Micah Heichel chipping in two apiece.
Bender has homered in every game with a total of six, one more than Thompson.
Joining Collins and Ternoway in the two-hit column for Clearfield were Serena, Noah Rumsky and Jake Sorbera, who was the starter and losing pitcher.
Eli Glass relieved in the second and pitched four innings, allowing four earned runs, and Rumsky came on for a 1-2-3 sixth.
FOUR-LEAF CLOVER — 13
Luke McGonigal 3b 5-1-2-3, Thayne Morgan 1b-cf 4-3-3-0, Ty Bender rf-c 4-2-2-2, Jimmy Pilosky lf 3-2-2-0, Mason Emigh ph-lf 1-0-0-0, Jesse Thompson p-1b 3-3-2-3, Dylan Confer ss-p 4-0-2-5, Zane Morgan 4-0-1-0, Micah Heichel 2b 4-1-2-0, Malachi Dixson cf-rf 3-1-1-0, Kyle Myers rf 1-0-0-0. TOTALS: 36-13-17-13.
CLEARFIELD — 9
Jeremy Learish rf-3b-lf 5-1-1-0, Matt Collins 4-2-2-6, Noah Rumsky cf-p 3-0-2-0, Jake Sorbera p-ss 4-0-2-0, Noah Bloom 3b 2-0-1-0, Ethan McGinnis rf 2-0-1-0, Michael Ternoway 1b 4-2-2-0, Eli Glass ss-p-3b 4-0-1-0, Matt Ryan 2b 2-2-1-0, Alex Coval 2b 1-0-0-0, Wyatt Porter c 0-1-0-0, Josh Serena pr-c-ph 3-1-2-1. TOTALS: 34-9-15-7.
Score by Innings
Four-Leaf Clover 270 130 – 13 17 1
Clearfield 040 041 – 9 15 3
Errors – Dixson; Collins 2, Glass. PB – Porter 1. LOB – Four-Leaf Clover 6; Clearfield 10. 2B – Heichel; Serena. HR – McGonigal (2), Bender (6), Thompson (5); Collins 2 (4). SB – Pilosky.
Four-Leaf Clover – Thompson 1-1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K; Z. Morgan 4-2/3 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K; Confer 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.
Clearfield – Sorbera 1+ IP (faced 6 batters in 2nd), 9 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 1 K; Glass 4 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 K; Rumsky 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.
WP – Z. Morgan 2; Sorbera 1, Glass 1.
W – Z. Morgan (1-0). L – Sorbera (1-1).
Umpires – Tom Janocko (plate) and Jeff Aveni (bases).