CLEARFIELD — Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub of Clearfield battled back through the elimination bracket and swept a pair of games from the defending champion Bedford Over-The-Hillbillies, 4-2 and 16-6 in five innings, at Bucky Strunk Memorial Field Sunday afternoon to reclaim the Clearfield “Past-Your-Prime” Modified Fast-Pitch Softball Tournament championship trophy.
Denny’s, which reigned for the first time in 2010 after sharing the title with Aqua Specialists of Mechanicsburg in 2008, continued its success in the even years of the tourney for players 40 and older behind the pitching of Lucky Prestash, key hits from top to bottom of a balanced lineup and solid defense.
On Saturday, the 2012 champs opened by edging Siegel Engraving/Buster’s Sports Bar of Clearfield 3-1 with Prestash spinning a two-hitter highlighted by 14 strikeouts.
Their lone stumble occurred in the winner’s bracket semifinals against Potter’s Bricklayers, as the seven-time titlists from Philipsburg prevailed 6-1.
Denny’s rebounded with a vengeance and eliminated Buster’s Sports Bar II 27-1 in five innings to become one of four teams that returned for the second day of the 18-year-old event.
Sunday morning’s duel between the remaining two unbeatens was a thriller as Potter’s pecked away with singletons in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to erase a 9-6 deficit, only to watch the Hillbillies explode for five runs on five hits in the top of the ninth inning.
Pete Coy and Mike Rose singled across runs before Jim Harshbarger belted a two-run triple in the rally that gave the Hillbillies a 14-10 victory. Lee Roy had hits and three RBIs for the Hillbillies, while Chuck Moore and Brent Cartwright had three hits a piece and Paul Lamb knocked in three runs with a home run and a double for the Bricklayers.
Then, Denny’s grabbed the spotlight.
Prestash shut out the Meatheads 13-0 in the elimination bracket semifinal, limiting the four-time champions to two singles. Most of the offense was supplied by Steve Terry with a double and two singles, Dave Reed and Denny Bowman with two hits and three RBIs apiece and Scott Cochran with a pair of run-scoring singles.
With a berth in the finals on the line, Denny’s took a 9-8 nail-bitter from Potter’s with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning with Bill Lindstrom singling for the third time, moving up on a sacrifice bunt and sprinting to the plate on a single to deep left by Jack Sones.
Denny’s had spotted Potter’s a 4-0 lead in the top of the first when Moore’s two-run double was the key hit and trailed 5-2 in the fifth when Terry provided the spark to a six-run salvo with a grand slam homer following three walks.
Prestash relieved Randy Sones and wound up the winner after surrendering two runs on four hits in the top of the seventh. Cartwright and Ron Henry delivered the clutch singles for Potter’s to knot the score.
Terry, Cochran and Ken Erskine each had two safeties for the winners, while Paul Lamb had three hits, two of them doubles, for the Bricklayers.
Prestash outdueled Chris Theys in the first Denny’s-Bedford showdown, pitching a seven-hitter with four strikeouts.
Solo homers by Bowman and Lindstrom were the difference in forcing an extra game. Lindstrom’s was an inside-the-park dash around the bases in the fourth inning for what proved to be the deciding run.
Randy Hutton had two hits and drove in the other two runs for Denny’s. Hillbillies Brett Cessna and Rob Koontz had two singles apiece.
In winner-take-all game, Coy sent Randy Sones’ first pitch over the fence in left to trigger a six-run uprising by the Hillbillies that included a two-run single by Roy and an RBI double by Bobby Kendall off Prestash.
The Hillbillies mustered only two hits off Prestash in the next four innings, though.
And Denny’s hitting against Theys and Kendall was relentless after the first inning.
Reed, who had led off with a solo homer, doubled home two teammates and scored on Erskine’s two-bagger to cap a five-run second that evened the score.
Denny’s came right back with five more on six hits in the third frame and really put it out of the Hillbillies’ reach with four runs in the fourth as Lindstrom punctuated his second three-hit game of the day with a two-run double.
Denny’s tacked on the game-ending run in the Mercy Rule win with two outs in the fifth.
Hanes, Terry, Bowman and Fred St. Clair chipped in two hits apiece to back Lindstrom and Reed in Denny’s 16-hit attack. Reed also had a sacrifice fly for a four-RBI effort.
To speed up tourney play, batters stepped into the box with a 1-1 count.
All proceeds from the concession stand and fund-raisers have gone to various youth activities and programs over the years. This year, most will go to the Marine Corps League “Toys for Tots” program again.
Several members of the Sergeant William L. Dixon Detachment in Clearfield were on hand to join the other volunteers, including umpires, who help make the annual event a success on and off the field.
Final standings – Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub 6-1, Bedford Over-The-Hillbillies 3-2, Potter’s Bricklayers 2-2, Meatheads 1-2, Siegel Engraving/Buster’s Sports Bar 1-2, Buster’s Sports Bar II 0-2, Emporium Used-To-Be Goods 0-2.
BEDFORD OVER-THE-HILLBILLIES — 6
Pete Coy ss 3-1-1-1, Sean Stanko cf 3-1-1-0, Mike Rose lf 2-1-2-1, Jim Harshbarger 1b 2-1-0-0, Lee Roy 2-1-2-2, Bobby Kendall 2b-ss-p 3-1-1-1, Ron Hickey 3b 2-0-0-0, Phil Lewis eh 1-0-0-1, Rob Koontz rf-2b 2-0-1-0, Tim McAfee eh 1-0-0-0, Bill Bumgardner eh-rf 2-0-0-0, Chris Theys p-ss 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 23-6-8-6.
DENNY’S BEER BARREL PUB — 16
Dave Reed eh 3-2-2-4, Ken Erskine 2b 4-0-1-1, Randy Hutton lf 3-2-1-0, Randy Sones p 0-0-0-0, Lucky Prestash p 0-0-0-0, Greg Hanes dh 3-2-2-0, Steve Terry ss 4-2-2-2, Denny Bowman 3b 3-2-2-1, Bill Lindstrom cf 3-3-3-2, Scott Cochran 1b 2-2-1-2, Jack Sones rf 1-0-0-1, Fred St. Clair c 2-1-2-0, Joe Anderson ph 1-0-0-0. TOTALS: 29-16-16-13.
Score by Innings
Bedford 600 00 – 6 8 2
Denny’s 155 41 – 16 16 1
E – Coy, Harshbarger; Bowman. LOB – Bedford 7; Denny’s 5. 2B – Kendall; Reed, Erskine, Hanes, Bowman, Lindstrom. 3B – Rose; Terry, Lindstrom. HR – Coy; Reed. Sac – J. Sones. SF – Reed, Cochran. SB – Rose; Terry.
Bedford – Theys 2-1/3 IP, 12 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 0 BB, 0 K; Kendall 2-1/3 IP, 4 H, 5 , 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K.
Denny’s – R. Sones 0 IP (faced 4 batters in 1st), 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K; Prestash 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.
W – Prestash (5-0). L – Theys (2-2).
Saturday, August 11
Game 1 – Bedford Over The Hillbillies 12, Buster’s Sports Bar II 2 (4 innings)
Game 2 – Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub 3, Siegel Engraving/Buster’s Sports Bar 1
Game 3 – Potter’s Bricklayers 8, Emporium Used-To-Be-Goods 2
Winner’s Bracket Semifinals
Game 4 – Bedford 13, Meatheads 12
Game 5 – Potter’s 6, Denny’s 1
Elimination Bracket First Round
Game 6 – Siegel’s/Buster’s 6, Emporium 0
Elimination Bracket Quarterfinals
Game 7 – Denny’s 27, Busters II 1 (5 innings)
Game 8 – Meatheads 11, Siegel’s/Buster’s 8
Sunday, August 12
Winner’s Bracket Final
Game 10 – Bedford 14, Potter’s 10 (9 innings)
Elimination Bracket Semifinal
Game 11 – Denny’s 13, Meatheads 0 (4-1/2 innings)
Elimination Bracket Final
Game 12 – Denny’s 9, Potter’s 8
Game 13 – Denny’s 4, Bedford 2
Game 14 – Denny’s 16, Bedford 6 (5 innings)