CLEARFIELD — The Clearfield Chiefs got shutout pitching from Brandon Orsich and Will Myers and posted crooked numbers in four innings to open the Pennsylvania American Legion Division I Region 7 Tournament with a 14-0 Mercy Rule win over Blairsville at the Lawrence Township Recreation Park Saturday morning.
Myers earned the victory with a brilliant relief stint, striking out four and walking none in 3-1/3 innings.
Orsich allowed both of the Indiana County League representative’s two hits but whiffed seven of the other 11 batters he faced over the first 3-2/3 innings.
He was pulled after his 45th pitch, 35 of them strikes, so that he will be eligible to return to the mound Monday.
“Brandon was sharp, as usual, but due to the pitch count, we took him out early,” Clearfield manager Sid Lansberry explained, adding, “Will came in and shut the door. He did a great job also.”
The Chiefs raked six Blairsville hurlers for 12 hits, with Myers and Seth Bumbarger the only two with more than one.
“Up and down the order, a lot of guys contributed,” Lansberry noted.
Myers also drove in a pair of runs, as did Orsich, Bryce Timko and Nate Barr. That quartet and Jake Sorbera combined for nine RBIs in the bottom four spots of the lineup.
The visiting team by virtue of a coin toss, Clearfield (10-7) jumped out to a quick lead on a walk, Reese Wilson’s single to rich center, Eli Glass’ double to deep right and Bumbarger’s groundout.
“Scoring early was a big factor,” Lansberry said. “Big hits by Reese and Eli set up our two-run first, and I think that set the tone for the rest of the game.”
The Chiefs made it 6-0 in the third inning with Orsich’s two-run single up the middle the key blow.
“Brandon had the big hit to build on the lead, and from there on, it was just a matter of time,” Lansberry said.
Timko’s RBI double to deep left triggered a five-run uprising in the fifth that included bases-loaded walks to Myers and Sorbera, guaranteeing the game would be shortened to seven innings because of the 10-run rule if Blairsville (10-5) couldn‘t break through against Myers.
Barr ripped a single to left field for the final two runs in the seventh frame.
“It’s a good way to start the tournament,” Lansberry said. “You’ve gotta win that first game and stay out of the loser’s bracket.”
Hempfield East (19-4) will be the winner’s bracket semifinal opponent for the Chiefs Sunday at 2 p.m. at the LTRP diamond.
The District 31 (Westmoreland County) runner-up handed Cambria County League champion Claysburg only its second loss in 26 games, 6-5.
“They’re a pretty solid team,” Lansberry said. “To beat Claysburg, you’ve done something.”
In the other first-round games, Central Penn League kingpin and two-time defending region champ Beech Creek (16-2) came from behind to defeat Jefferson County League titlist Brookville/Punxsutawney 7-6, and District 31 champ Bushy Run (21-3) turned back Cambria County League runner-up Bedford (21-5) by an 8-5 final.
Those winners will meet in the 5 p.m. nightcap of Sunday’s LTRP tripleheader that begins with the Blairsville-Claysburg elimination bracket game at 11 a.m.
Brookville/Punxsy and Bedford will try to stay alive in a 2 p.m. game at the Clearfield Area High School.
CLEARFIELD — 14
Thayne Morgan 2b-ss-2b 2210, Tommy Hazel ph-cf 1010, Reese Wilson cf 3210, Alec Graham ph-rf 2000, Eli Glass 3b-ss 4112, Seth Bumbarger 1b 5221, Ty Bender c 2101, Will Myers ss-p 3222, Jake Sorbera lf 3001, Harrison Peacock 3b 0100, Brandon Orsich p-2b 3212, Allan Myers lf 1000, Bryce Timko rf 4112, Nate Barr cf-2b 1012. TOTALS: 34 14 11 13.
BLAIRSVILLE — 0
Matt Alexander ss-p-ss 3000, Jayke Saiani 2b-ss-rf 3000, Ricky Shirley c-3b-p-2b 2000, Dawson Brendlinger 2b 1000, Zack Olechovski dh-p-1b-3b 3010, Devin Burkhart rf-1b 3010, Brian Knupp 3b-p-3b-lf 2000, Joey Lasser rf-p 0000, C.J. Ingmire lf 1000, Marty Foreman ph-c 1000, Blake Furman 1b-c-1b 2000, Ty Sarra lf 0000, Max Hrebik cf 2000. TOTALS: 23 0 2 01.
Score by Innings
Clearfield 204 150 2 – 14 11 0
Blairsville 000 000 0 – 0 2 6
E – Alexander, Saiani, Olechovski, Knupp 2, Hrebik. LOB – Clearfield 12; Blairsville 2. 2B – Glass, Timko; Olechovski. SF – Glass.
Clearfield – Orsich 3-2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K; Myers 3-1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K.
Blairsville – Joey Lunch 1-1/3 IP 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 0 K; Olechovski 1-2/3 IP 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K; Knupp 1+ IP (faced two batters in 5th), 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K; Shirley1/3 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB , 0 K; Alexander 2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K; Lasser 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.
HB – Shirley 1 (Morgan), Alexander 1 (Myers). WP – Olechovski 1.
W – Myers (2-2). L – Lynch.
Umpires – Mike Kresovich (plate) and Chris Cogan (bases).