HYDE — On the best day of what has been a miserable spring for high school sports, the Clearfield baseball team was at its very best in a 5-0 win over Mountain League rival Philipsburg-Osceola at the Bison Sports Complex Saturday afternoon.
The Bison excelled in all three phases, and the exceptional performance resulted in their fifth win in a row since a season-opening road loss to league front-runner Huntingdon.
Starting with pitcher Jake Sorbera, who fashioned a four-hitter with five strikeouts and no walks.
The senior right-hander needed only 77 pitches, 53 of them strikes, to shut out the Mounties for his second victory in three decisions.
“That’s a masterpiece by Jake,” Bison coach Sid Lansberry said. “Absolutely, and against a good hitting team, too. He never really was in trouble. He was right around the plate.”
Sorbera pounded the bottom of the strike zone, exhibiting pinpoint control in a very efficient effort that lowered his earned run average to 1.24 for 22-2/3 innings in four starts.
Pitching coach Chris Peacock called for a heavy dose of off-speed pitches that kept the Mounties off balance.
“His changeup was most effective, but the curve really was getting him ahead in the count,” Peacock noted.
Sorbera’s mates backed him with flawless defense.
“We made good plays in the infield,” Lansberry said. “Maybe nothing spectacular, but when you make basic plays in high school baseball, that’s a key.”
And the Bison got to Mountie ace Josh Earnest for a season-high 10 hits in five innings, all from the first six batters in the order with Reese Wilson, Nate Barr, Ty Bender and Allan Myers registering two apiece.
Lansberry was very pleased that six of them were hit to the opposite field and a possible seventh was denied when P-O right fielder Hunter Ammerman turned Myers’ soft liner to short right center into a forceout at second base.
“That shows good discipline, and we’ve being working on that a lot lately,” he said.
Clearfield threatened right away on Wilson’s infield hit and Barr’s single that was misplayed in the outfield.
Wilson was out trying to score on a pitch in the dirt because Mountie catcher Trey Shaw quickly corralled the rebound off the backstop and flipped to Earnest covering the plate.
The Bison did get on the board, though, on an errant throw to first base after the third strike on Eli Glass.
“Luckily, we got a run, and that helped,” Lansberry said. “That first run is big psychologically.”
The Bison broke it open in the third inning with five consecutive hits, a difficult feat on any level.
Barr punched his second hit to right and Glass sent him to third with a flyball double that sliced away from Mountie left fielder Bubba Slogosky.
Seth Bumbarger followed with a double to deep left for two RBIs and moved to third on Bender’s single to short center. When Bender broke for second base, Myers’ looper to the unprotected area between first and second for a run-scoring hit.
Bender reached third on a throwing error and, one out later, scored on Harrison Peacock’s groundout.
Earnest had four strikeouts and one walk, with two of the Bison runs unearned.
“He’s a good pitcher,” Lansberry said. “That’s a good team.
“We played well against a crew of good, veteran players.”
Earnest and Gage Coudriet were the only Mounties to solve Sorbera, with one of Earnest’s two hit’s a double to deep center in the seventh frame.
Clearfield improved to 4-1 in the league, while P-O fell to 0-3 with a 1-5 record overall.
The Bison will make the short trip to Curwensville for a non-league game Monday.
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA — 0
Ryan Kephart ss 3000, Landon McDonald 2b 3000, Ryan Whitehead p 0000, Keegan Soltis 3b 3000, Josh Earnest p-2b 3020, Trey Shaw c 3000, Micah Martin cf 3000, Bubba Slogosky lf 0000, Brandon Kephart dh 2000, Gage Coudriet 1b 2020, Hunter Ammerman rf 2000. TOTALS: 24 0 4 0.
CLEARFIELD — 5
Reese Wilson cf 4020, Nate Barr c 4220, Eli Glass ss 3110, Seth Bumbarger 1b 3112, Ty Bender 3020, Hayden Williams 2b 0000, Allan Myers dh 3021, Jake Sorbera p 2000, Harrison Peacock 3b 3000, Alec Graham lf 2000, Caullin Reed ph 1000. TOTALS: 28 5 10 4.
Score by Innings
Philipsburg-Osceola 000 000 0 – 0 5 3
Clearfield 105 000 x – 5 10 0
E – McDonald, Shaw, Ammerman. PB – Barr 1. DP – Clearfield 1 (Sorbera, Glass and Bumbarger). LOB – Philipsburg-Osceola 3; Clearfield 6. 2B – Earnest; Glass, Bumbarger.
Philipsburg-Osceola – Earnest 5 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K; Whitehead 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.
Clearfield – Sorbera 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K.
WP – Earnest 2.
W – Sorbera (2-1). L – Earnest.
Umpires – Gary Kost (plate) and A.J. Coval (bases).