HYDE — Cole Kephart tripled home the tying run and scored on a sacrifice fly by Sawyer Rowles in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the Clearfield Area High School baseball team to an improbable 5-4 victory over Bellefonte at the Bison Sports Complex Monday.
The Bison regained a half-game lead over Central in the Mountain League chase with their sixth win in a row, pushing their record to 9-2.
Their seventh victory in eight league games that seemed inevitable with a three-run first inning and once-beaten Thomas Summers on the mound turned into a nail-biter in the middle and late innings.
Bellefonte (6-4) took advantage of Clearfield’s lone error to push across four runs in the fourth inning, and sophomore lefthander Logan Mathieu frustrated the hosts in their next three at-bats.
The Bison were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position during that stretch.
“Had we lost that game, my comment would have been, ‘We played a good game defensively, but our hitters did not do the job,’” Clearfield coach Sid Lansberry said. “We’ve got to come up better in clutch situations.
“I’m glad we won in the seventh inning, but we’ve got to nail it down sooner than that. We should have won that game earlier.”
The Bison wasted three golden opportunities to at least draw even.
In the fourth frame, Kephart reached on an error and Brandon Orsich drilled a single to right center, but Mathieu logged a key strikeout and induced a double play grounder to third base by Erik Sellers.
In the fifth, Mathieu issued one-out walks to pinch-hitter Dan Collins and Spencer Herrington around a line single to left by Josh Sorbera and then wiggled off the hook on two popups.
In the sixth, walks to Orsich and Sawyer Rowles and an error on Sellers’ sacrifice bunt filled the sacks with no outs. Mathieu reached back to register two of his seven strikeouts before right fielder Nick Jabco raced into foul territory for a diving grab of Sorbera’s slicing fly ball.
“I give their pitcher credit,” Lansberry said. “We got to him early and he got tough. He’s a battler.
“He’s got good movement on the ball. He had us hitting on our fists and guessing on the curve ball. We let a lot of good pitches go because we were guessing up there.”
Because of Mathieu’s high pitch count, Kyler Mellott relieved in the seventh and quickly notched a strikeout.
However, Thomas Summers gave the Bison life with a sharp single through the right side, and courtesy runner Justin Fedder sprinted all the away around with the equalizer when Kephart’s wallop to left center hit a fence post and bounced back toward the infield.
“That’s a big, clutch hit by Cole,” Lansberry said of Clearfield’s first triple of the season. “I thought it was out initially, but the flag (in dead center field) was still when he hit that. The inning before, the wind was blowing out.”
Orsich was given an intentional walk after Mellott’s first two pitches were high and away, setting the stage for Sawyer to end it with his fly ball to medium left center. Kephart tagged and scored easily when the throw to the plate was off line.
That marks the third time the Bison have scored the deciding runs in the seventh inning.
They could have had an even bigger rally in the first, too.
Mathieu walked three of the first four batters around a single by Herrington, but the Raiders turned a double play as the second run scored. Rowles made it 3-0 with a line single to left.
After stranding runners in scoring position twice, Bellefonte broke through against Summers in the fourth with some help from the hosts.
Mathieu’s high infield pop fly was not handled, Adam Kuhn drilled a single to left and, with one out, Zach Musser walked. An error on Jabco’s hard high-hopper and Darren Heeman’s single made it 3-2. With two outs, Trent Fortney whacked a double up the left center alley to put the Raiders ahead.
The Raiders had visions of widening the lead when Taylor Butts clubbed a double to deep center and Mathieu was hit on the helmet to begin the fifth.
Summers refocused and averted further trouble via a forceout, a popup and a strikeout.
The senior southpaw breezed through the last two innings with two of his six strikeouts and four groundouts and then triggered the Bison’s last-ditch rally with his hit.
“Thomas pitched a good game,” Lansberry said. “He got roughed up there in the fourth inning, but he came back strong.”
Summers surrendered a season-high eight hits and two walks in his sixth win.
Clearfield continues its home stand against Tyrone Tuesday and Penns Valley Wednesday.
Mountain League standings — Clearfield 7-1, Central 6-1, Huntingdon 5-4, Bellefonte 4-4, Philipsburg-Osceola 3-3, Penns Valley 2-4, Bald Eagle Area 2-6, Tyrone 1-7.
BELLEFONTE — 4
Jonny Glunt lf 4010, Trent Fortney c 4022, Taylor Butts 1b 4010, Logan Mathieu p 3110, Kyler Mellott p 0000, Adam Kuhn 3b 2110, Tanner Helms cf 3010, Zach Musser 2b 2100, Nick Jabco rf 3101, Darren Heeman ss 3011. TOTALS: 28 4 8 4.
CLEARFIELD — 5
Josh Sorbera c 3110, Spencer Herrington ss 3110, Thomas Summers p 3210, Cole Kephart 3b 3112, Will Myers 2b 0000, Brandon Orsich dh 2010, Sawyer Rowles cf 2012, Erik Sellers 1b 2000, Tommy Hazel rf 3000, Noah Cline lf 2000, Dan Collins ph 0000. TOTALS: 23 5 6 4.
Score by Innings
Bellefonte 000 400 0 – 4 8 2
Clearfield 300 000 2 – 5 6 1
E – Mathieu, Kuhn; Myers. DP – Bellefonte 2 (Heeman, Musser and Butts; Kuhn and Butts). LOB – Bellefonte 6; Clearfield 8. 2B – Fortney, Butts. 3B – Kephart. Sac – Sellers. SF – Kephart. CS – Rowles (by Fortney).
Bellefonte – Mathieu 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 7 BB, 6 K; Mellott 2/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.
Clearfield – Summers 7 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.
HB – Summers 1 (Mathieu). WP – Mathieu 2. PO – Summers 1 (Fortney).
W – Summers (6-1). L – Mellott (0-1).
Umpires – Mark Michelucci (plate) and Keith Lepionka (bases).
|3/23||@ Central||2 – 0||1 – 0|
|3/26||@ Huntingdon||ppd.||1 – 0|
|3/27||@ Huntingdon||6 – 4||2 – 0|
|3/31||@ Bellefonte||ppd.||2 – 0|
|4/02||@ Tyrone||6 – 1||3 – 0|
|4/06||PUNXSUTAWNEY||4 – 7, 9 inn.||3 – 1|
|4/07||@ Bald Eagle Area||ppd.||3 – 1|
|4/10||@ Altoona Curve Classic|
|4/10||vs. Central||0 – 2||3 – 2|
|4/11||@ Altoona Curve Classic|
|4/11||vs. Forest Hills||7 – 3||4 – 2|
|4/14||@ Philipsburg-Osceola||6 – 4||5 – 2|
|4/15||@ Bald Eagle Area||3 – 0||6 – 2|
|4/20||HUNTINGDON||ppd.||6 – 2|
|4/21||HUNTINGDON||4 – 3||7 – 2|
|4/23||BELLEFONTE||ppd.||7 – 2|
|4/24||@ Curwensville||13 – 0||8 – 2|
|4/27||BELLEFONTE||5 – 4||9 – 2|
|5/01||BALD EAGLE AREA|
|5/04||@ Penns Valley|