Bison’s Challenge Is Another Strong Punxsy Team

HYDE — The Clearfield Area High School baseball team ended one streak Tuesday and will attempt to halt another Thursday evening in the District 9 Class AAA championship game against No. 1 seed Punxsutawney at Showers Field in DuBois.

Blanking Bradford 9-0 in the semifinals got the Bison in the playoff win column for the first time since 2009.

Clearfield seasons ended with a 9-5 loss to Punxsy in the title game that year and in the semifinals in 2010, 2011 and 2015.

The other streak is much longer.

Punxsy has won every D9-AAA crown since Clearfield ruled in 2003, and the 2016 Chucks have built an impressive resume.

The Central Penn League champions are 16-4 with three of the losses in the Rawlings Classic during an April trip to Georgia.

The Chucks were beaten 3-2 by O’Fallon (Ill.), 3-0 by Poplar Bluff (Mo.) and 13-9 in nine innings by Enterprise (Ala.). MaxPreps shows O’Fallon 29-4 and ranked No. 3 in the state and Poplar Bluff 26-5-1.

Since coming back north, the Chucks stumbled only against CPL rival Williamsport, 6-4 in eight innings on April 18, and are riding a 10-game winning streak that includes shutouts in four of their last five games.

Pitchers John Matthews, a hard thrower who broke the school’s strikeout record earlier this season, and Lance Pennington reportedly sport earned run averages under one.

“I’ve been told this is the best team they’ve had since they won the state title in 2007 with Devin Mesoraco and Nick Gillung,” Clearfield coach Sid Lansberry said.

“They’re unbelievable offensively, defensively and pitching, so it‘s going to be a tall order, but I think we can play with them.

“We lost to them 9-4 early in the season and played a poor game that night.

“Our kids feel we can make a game of it. You never know. We’ve gotta go out there and play it on the field and see what happens.”

With ace Brandon Orsich (7-1) having pitched a complete game against Bradford, Lansberry is not sure who will get the start against the Chucks.

Jake Sorbera is 4-3 with a 3.21 ERA in eight appearances, including five starts, Will Myers is 1-1 with a 1.47 ERA and Hazel 0-1 with a 2.42 ERA in five outings each.

Lansberry has been reluctant to use the same pitcher when meeting a team for a second time, and Sorbera and Hazel worked two innings apiece at Punxsy.

“I like to avoid that if we can, but Sorbera’s technically our No. 2 and Hazel has pitched well in relief,” Lansberry said. “Myers had a good start against Curwensville and pitched pretty well against Philipsburg-Osceola, but we would prefer to use him at third base.”

Myers is hitting .438 in a limited number of plate appearances since returning from an injury.

Zane Morgan (.383, 23 hits, 11 RBIs, 19 runs) will go behind the plate with Logan Lykens (.250) at first base, Justin Fedder (.308, 20 hits, 16 runs) at second base, Thayne Morgan (.325) at shortstop, Jon Trimpey (.250, 10 RBIs) in left field, Reese Wilson (.278) in center field and Ty Bender (.321, 18 hits, 12 RBIs) in right field.

Orsich (.256) and Eli Glass (.313) are designated hitter options.

Bison Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
3/29 CENTRAL 11 – 5 1 – 0
4/01 HUNTINGDON 3 – 1 2 – 0
4/04 BELLEFONTE ppd. 2 – 0
4/05 BELLEFONTE ppd. 2 – 0
4/06 BELLEFONTE 3 – 0 3 – 0
4/07 @ Tyrone ppd. 3 – 0
4/08 @ Punxsutawney 4 – 9 3 – 1
4/11 CURWENSVILLE ppd. 3 – 1
4/12 BALD EAGLE AREA ppd. 3 – 1
4/13 BALD EAGLE AREA 1 – 2 3 – 2
4/15 @ Penns Valley 3 – 4 3 – 3
4/18 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 4 – 2 4 – 3
4/19 @ Brookville 7 – 2 5 – 3
4/21 @ Central 0 – 6 5 – 4
4/23 @ Tyrone 7 – 0 6 – 4
4/26 @ Huntingdon 2 – 5 6 – 5
4/29 @ Bellefonte ppd. 6 – 5
5/02 TYRONE ppd. 6 – 5
5/03 @ Curwensville 13 – 0 7 – 5
5/04 TYRONE 6 – 4 8 – 5
5/05 @ Bald Eagle Area 2 – 5 8 – 6
5/09 @ The Kiski School cancelled 8 – 6
5/10 PENNS VALLEY 11 – 7 9 – 6
5/11 @ Bellefonte 3 – 4 9 – 7
5/13 @ Philipsburg-Osceola 0 – 5 9 – 8
5/17 DUBOIS 4 – 1 10 – 8
5/19 CURWENSVILLE 9 – 0 11 – 8
5/24 D9 AAA Semifinals
5/24 BRADFORD 9 – 0 12 – 8
5/26 D9 Finals
5/26 vs. Punxsy (at DuBois)
Chucks Down Bison 8-1 for 13th D9-AAA Title in Row
Lady Bison Hold Off Lady Dutch 6-5 To Reach 9-AAA Finals

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