HYDE — Moral victories don’t show on a team’s record, and Clearfield Area High School softball coach Bob Lewis maintains his girls certainly aren’t chasing them.
However, he’ll at least have to put an asterisk behind the Lady Bison’s 5-2 loss to Philipsburg-Osceola at the Bison Sports Complex Monday.
With Raeleigh Redden dueling Maggie Peck in the circle, the Lady Bison hung right with the Lady Mounties until the seventh inning, when the perennial Mountain League and District 6 Class AA title contenders pushed across three runs to escape with their perfect loop record intact.
Since Clearfield joined the ML in 2011, P-O has dominated the series with a 2-1 squeaker that year and six one-sided wins, three by shutouts and three by 11-1.
Lewis is hoping the Lady Bison’s effort in their home opener will prove to be the dawning of a new era and the beginning of a real rivalry.
“We try to instill in the kids that you just play the game, play with heart and don’t be intimidated by just the name,” he explained. “Games aren’t played on paper. Until the kids get that in their heads, things won’t change.
“They played very, very much with heart and played very well today. In all three phases. The pitching was fantastic. The defense was there. And there was timely hitting. We’ve got gotta manufacture more runs.
“It was a great high school ball game.
“Our program took several giant leaps forward, because the kids realize they can play with anybody.”
P-O (4-1, 4-0 ML) broke on top with two outs in the first inning when St. Francis University commit McKenzie Burge ripped a single into right field, stole second, advanced to third on Clearfield’s lone error and trotted home on Haylee Hayward’s double down the left field line.
Only Karlie Lewis’ spectacular, running, over-the-shoulder grab of leadoff batter Peck’s blast to deep center prevented a bigger inning.
The Lady Bison responded with the equalizer in their first look at Peck. Sierra Jones, aboard via a forceout, circled the sacks on Aspen Bishop’s double down the right field line.
Then, the hosts took a surprising 2-1 lead in the second frame on Brooke Cline’s two-out single through the middle that plated Karlie Lewis, who had singled and moved into scoring position on a walk to Redden.
In the top of the third, a single and stolen base by Megan Bainey and a liner to center by Hayward made it 2-2.
And that’s the way it remained until the seventh as both pitchers buckled down.
Peck had set down 12 consecutive Lady Bison, six on strikes, before Eric Hanes sent a flare into right center with two down in the sixth inning. Coach Lewis held her at third when his daughter’s fly ball to right was misplayed and didn’t second-guess himself even after Peck got the final out by jamming pinch-hitter Brittani Priester.
“I thought of sending her, but I hesitated, and I think she might have been out on the throw because the ball really didn’t go that far away,” he said. “That’s a tough thing to ask Brittani to come in for that situation right off the bench, but she put the ball in play. She’s more than capable of driving the ball. She was just a little behind on that pitch.”
Meanwhile, Redden was frustrating the Lady Mounties, retiring 10 of the 13 she faced after they tied the score, including five on strikeouts, and stranding the go-ahead run at third base twice. She got a big assist in the fifth when Macala Leigey ranged into right center to rob Chelsey Henry with a terrific backhanded catch.
“Raeleigh really settled down through the middle innings,” Lewis said. “She mixed her speeds very well. Hit her locations. Seemed to get stronger as the game went on. She really gutted it out.
“I’m very, very pleased with her. She came of age today, and she realizes now she can pitch with anybody. It’s a big confidence booster for her.”
Superior speed enabled P-O to break through in the last inning with five stolen bases and three of their nine hits off Redden, who fanned six and walked five.
Bainey, for the second time, beat out a perfectly placed bunt, stole two bases as Burge drew a walk and dashed to the plate with the winning run on a wild pitch.
Burge, who also pilfered second to match Bainey’s three stolen bases, reached third on the wild pitch and scored on a hard single through the middle by Abby Showers.
After Showers stole second and moved to third on a groundout, Jayde Burge bounced a hit into center field for the final run.
“They played small ball to manufacture a few runs, and it worked,” Lewis said. “For the most part we defended it fairly well.”
Peck pitched a clean bottom of the seventh to wrap up her five-hit victory highlighted by 10 strikeouts with only one walk.
Bainey, McKenzie Burge, Hayward and Showers each had a pair of hits for the Lady Mounties.
“They’re a great team, there’s no doubt about it,” Lewis acknowledged. “They’re very seasoned. They have a lot of experience, great coaches. Kudos to them. They played a great game. And that’s where we want to be.”
He believes the Lady Bison are headed in the right direction.
“The team came together and did a nice job,” he said. “The kids are young. The fact that they played a tremendous ball game, I couldn’t be prouder.”
The Lady Bison are 3-3, all in the league, for Tuesday’s makeup game against Penns Valley at Spring Mills.
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA — 5
Maggie Peck p 4000, Megan Bainey cf 4220, McKenzie Burge 1b 3220, Haylee Hayward 3b 4022, Abby Showers ss 2121, Chelsey Henry lf 4000, Jayde Burge rf 3011, Annie Kost rf 0000, Camryn Frank dp 3000, Kylie Thal c 2000, Morgan Thompson ph 1000, Hannah Thompson 2b (flex) 0000. TOTALS: 30 5 9 4.
CLEARFIELD — 2
Brooke Cline ss 4021, Lauren Butler 2b 3000, Sierra Jones 3b 3100, Aspen Bishop lf 3011, Erica Hanes dp 3010, Karlie Lewis cf 3110, Victoria Ireland 1b 2000, Brittani Priester ph 1000, Macala Leigey rf 2000, Abby Fedder ph 1000, Raeleigh Redden p 1000, Makayla Ross ph 1000, Myra Kavelak c (flex) 0000. TOTALS: 27 2 5 2.
Score by Innings
Philipsburg-Osceola 101 000 3 – 5 9 1
Clearfield 110 000 0 – 2 5 1
E – Kost; Kavelak. LOB – Philipsburg-Osceola 9; Clearfield 5. 2B – Hayward, Showers; Bishop.
SB – Bainey 3, M. Burge 3, Hayward 1, Showers 1, Kost 2, H. Thompson 1.
Philipsburg-Osceola – Peck 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K.
Clearfield – Redden 7 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 6 K.
WP – Redden 2.
W – Peck. L – Redden (3-3).
Umpires – Ron Walter (plate) and Jay Siegel (bases).
Lady Bison Scoreboard:
|3/24||@ Central||8 – 6||1 – 0|
|3/27||HUNTINGDON||ppd.||1 – 0|
|3/30||@ Bellefonte||2 – 11||1 – 1|
|4/01||@ Huntingdon||9 – 2||2 – 1|
|4/02||@ Tyrone||11 – 6||3 – 1|
|4/06||@ Bald Eagle Area||0 – 10||3 – 2|
|4/10||@ Penns Valley||ppd.||3 – 2|
|4/13||PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA||2 – 5||3 – 3|
|4/14||@ Penns Valley|
|4/30||BALD EAGLE AREA|