Hard-Hitting Owls Swoop Past Bison 13-6 in 9-AAA Semi

HYDE — The best season in more than 10 years for a Clearfield Area High School baseball team ended on a sour note Tuesday.

The No. 3-seeded Bradford Owls proved they were better than their 12-6 record and that their lofty .329 batting average was legitimate by spraying 19 hits all over the Bison Sports Complex varsity field for a 13-6 victory in the District 9 Class AAA semifinal.

They had more than a little help from the No. 2 seed Bison, who committed an uncharacteristic eight errors, six more than they averaged during the 14-6 regular season.

“I think an appropriate quote by Yogi Berra applies to this game,” Clearfield coach Sid Lansberry said. “We made too many wrong mistakes.

“Eight errors, six unearned runs. You can’t beat anybody like that.

“It’s disappointing that we would play like that. I thought we were ready to play, but we made a lot of mistakes.”

The Bison also went lacking for clutch hits as they stranded 11 runners, including four in the first two innings.

They did go up 3-1 in the second after failing to capitalize on a first-and-third, no-out situation in the first, but they were one big hit from possibly breaking it open right there.

Cole Kephart doubled to deep left, Marcus Luzier walked and Tommy Hazel singled to load the bases. After winning pitcher Andy Bacha hit Sawyer Rowles to force in a run, Spencer Herrington came through with Clearfield’s biggest hit of the day, a two-run single through the left side.

That lead was short-lived, though, as the Owls answered with four runs in the top of the third frame, three tainted by two Bison miscues.

Ryan Boyer’s two-run single got Bradford even, and Connor Vecellio scored the go-ahead run when the ball was misplayed in the outfield. Garrett Babcock followed by ripping a sharp single past diving first baseman Erik Sellers to make it 5-3.

The Owls, who had at least two hits in every inning except the second, chased loser Thomas Summers in the fifth with some two-out lightning. Bryce Skaggs and Dan Manion belted back-to-back doubles and, after another Bison misplay, John Obermeyer singled to center that prompted Lansberry to make a pitching change.

Summers, who had posted a 7-1 record and a 1.69 earned run average in 58 innings, gave up 10 hits and eight runs, though only two were earned. He struck out five and walked four.

Junior right-hander Brandon Orsich, who teamed with the senior left-hander to give Clearfield its best starting pitching combination in many years, fared no better against the Owls.

Bradford batted around for the second time in the sixth, scoring four more runs on seven hits. All of the damage came with two outs as Rob Rice doubled for an RBI and Skaggs, Bacha and Obermeyer added run-scoring singles.

Babcock set the final with by cracking an RBI double up the right center ally in the seventh inning.

Lansberry admitted he wasn’t expecting such a prolific attack from the Owls.

“They are a better hitting team than what we realized,” he said. “We had scouted them but didn’t see much that game. It was kind of a surprise that they hit the ball that hard.”

Bacha, Obermeyer, Babcock and Skaggs had three hits apiece, while Vecellio and Manion had two each.

Bacha went the distance on the mound despite throwing well over 100 fastballs, curveballs and changeups. The junior right-hander pitched from the stretch in every inning but survived allowing eight hits, issuing six walks and hitting three Bison because he was backed by excellent defense.

Bradford will meet perennial champion and No. 1 seed Punxsutawney (17-1) in the title game Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Showers Field in DuBois.

Clearfield picked up a run in the fifth when Sellers singled and pinch-hitter Dan Collins doubled on a hard shot past shortstop.

The Bison tallied their last two runs in the sixth, Herrington scoring on Will Myers’ single to center and Summers also coming around on the Owls’ lone misplay.

Cole Kephart, one of Clearfield’s eight seniors, had two hits, one a double.

Rowles, Herrington, Summers, Sellers, Collins, Josh Sorbera and Noah Cline also played their final game for the Red and Black.

“I don’t want this to take away from the season that they had, because it’s a good group of kids,” Lansberry said. “They competed.

“We’ve had a good season. This is the first game we’ve really been beat bad. Even in the other games we lost, we were right there. That’s what is so disappointing.

“I thought it would be a close game. I didn’t think it was going to happen like that today.”

BRADFORD — 13

Andy Bacha p 4131, John Obermeyer ss 5132, Sawyer Packard c 5110, Connor Vecellio cf 4120, Ryan Boyer 2b 5212, Garrett Babcock 3b 5132, John Pantuso 1b 0000, Rob Rice dh 4211, Bryce Skaggs rf 4231, Dan Manion lf 4221. TOTALS: 40 13 19 10.

CLEARFIELD — 6

Sawyer Rowles cf 1001, Spencer Herrington ss 3112, Josh Sorbera c 3000, Thomas Summers p-rf 4110, Erik Sellers 1b 3110, Will Myers 2b 3011, Dan Collins ph 1011, Cole Kephart 3b 4120, Noah Cline lf 0000, Marcus Luzier dh 3100, Tommy Hazel rf 2110, Brandon Orsich p 2000. TOTALS: 29 6 8 5.

Score by Innings

Bradford        014 034 1 – 13 19 1
Clearfield      030 012 0 –   6    8 8
E – Vecellio; Rowles, Herrington 2, Sorbera, Summers, Sellers, Kephart, Cline. LOB – Bradford 11; Clearfield 11. 2B – Obermeyer, Babcock, Rice, Skaggs; Collins, Kephart. SB – Babcock; Rowles, Herrington. CS – Vecellio (by Sorbera).

Pitching

Bradford – Bacha 7 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 6 BB, 7 K.
Clearfield – Summers 4-2/3 IP, 10 H,8 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K; Orsich 2-1/3 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 2 K.
HB – Bacha 3 (Rowles, Sorbera, Sellers); Summers 1 (Rice). PO – Summers 1 (Bacha).
W – Bacha. L – Summers (7-2).

Umpires – Scott Viehdorfer (plate); J.R. Rosselli (first base) and Rob Morgan (third base).

Final Bison Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
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
4/28 TYRONE 3 – 2 10 – 2
4/29 PENNS VALLEY 1 – 5 10 – 3
5/01 BALD EAGLE AREA 6 – 5 11 – 3
5/01 (protest by BEA reults in loss) 0 – 7 10 – 4
5/04 @ Penns Valley 7 – 6 11 – 4
5/05 @ Bellefonte 5 – 10 11 – 5
5/07 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 13 – 3 12 – 5
5/11 CURWENSVILLE 7 – 2 13 – 5
5/14 BROOKVILLE 11 – 1 14 – 5
5/15 @ DuBois 1 – 4 14 – 6
5/19 District 9 AAA Semifinals
5/19 BRADFORD 6 – 13 14 – 7
DCC Ends Lady Tide Season, 2-0, in District 9 Softball Playoffs
Lady Bison Face Tough Challenge in 9-AAA Semifinal

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