LILLY — The Clearfield Chiefs swept their way to the Pennsylvania American Legion Senior Division II Region 7 championship with 9-5 and 4-3 victories over the Lilly Red Raiders at Lilly-Washington War Memorial Field Saturday afternoon.
“This is the first time we’ve been region champs that I know of,” manager Sid Lansberry stated after the Jefferson County League runners-up eliminated the only other Region 7 entry. “I don’t think Clearfield has ever been in a legion state tournament.”
He pointed out that two wins were the most by any of his 21 John Lewis Shade Post 6 teams had recorded, and those came when there was no Division II and the Chiefs competed in eight-team, double-elimination regionals.
The title sends Clearfield (18-8) to the Pennsylvania American Legion Senior Division II Championships Aug. 3-4-5 at Williamsport.
Lilly, which finished fifth at 11-9 in the 11-team Cambria County League, had the Chiefs on the ropes in the error-filled opener of the doubleheader played on an overcast, blustery day.
They had only one hit off Tanner Perrone in the first three innings while the Red Raiders built a three-run lead.
That was an infield single by Nate Barr that moved Thayne Morgan, aboard on the first of Lilly’s eight misplays, to third base, and Eli Glass bounced into a forceout that got the visitors on the board in the first frame.
Bryce Timko then battled through a long bottom of the inning with mixed results, logging three strikeouts but also walking two Red Raiders around the first of Dallas Hite’s three hits to set the stage for Perrone to lash a single to center that put Lilly ahead 2-1.
Timko whiffed three Red Raiders again in the second inning but ran into trouble in the third when Hite’s single preceded three of Clearfield’s six errors turned into two runs.
“Things looked grim there early, down 4-1 and their pitcher throwing good, but we had a good comeback,” Lansberry said. “They started throwing the ball around and we started hitting a little.”
The Chiefs got close in the fourth on Harrison Peacock’s RBI single and Morgan’s sacrifice fly and took advantage of three miscues for three runs in the fifth for a 6-4 lead, with Jake Sorbera picking up an RBI on a ground ball.
Timko’s stint ended in the lower fifth because of the 105-pitch rule for legion postseason tournaments after Hite had singled and scored on an error.
The lefthander surrendered five hits and two earned runs while fanning 10 and walking two in his third win.
“Bryce pitched a better game than what it appeared because he was a little bit wild early and we had some errors,” Lansberry said. “But he had a solid performance, and then Jake came in and shut the door.”
Sorbera was outstanding in notching his first save, allowing just one walk over 2-1/3 inning with six of the outs recorded on grounders.
He wasn’t working under as much pressure after the Chiefs tallied three insurance runs off reliever Braedon O’Donnell with two outs in the sixth.
A hit batsman and singles by Glass and Timko produced the first marker. Sorbera singled for his second RBI and Timko scored on an error.
Working with the lead after Clearfield jumped in front 2-0 in the second inning, Hunter Dixon got the job done on the bump in the nightcap.
He worked around nine hits and one walk to go the distance, giving up just one earned run and stranding the tying run at third base with his sixth strikeout in the seventh inning.
“He keeps you in the game because he doesn’t walk a lot of people and he works fast,” Lansberry said. “And we usually play good defense behind him.
Loser Richard Perrone spaced eight hits with three strikeouts and two walks, and the Chiefs’ first two runs were unearned because of two errors that were sandwiched by a single by Sorbera, a walk and an RBI groundout by Cade Walker.
The teams traded markers in the third inning, Lilly on two hits and an error and Clearfield when Glass singled for the second time and scored on Perrone’s second wild pitch.
Hayden Williams’ two-out flyball double to right plated Allan Myers for the eventual winning run in the fifth frame. Myers had singled and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch.
The 4-1 advantage shrank in the top of the sixth when the Red Raiders parlayed consecutive hits by O’Donnell, Ashton Buck and Collin Reese for a run with no outs, and Luke Mardula added a sacrifice fly.
Hite, who had three hits in both games, gave the Red Raiders hope in the seventh with his two out double to right center and a steal of third base.
However, Dixon ended their season with the strikeout on his 100th pitch, locking down his third win in as many decisions.
“That last inning was big with the top of the order up, and he rose to the occasion,” Lansberry said. “A complete game for his first year in legion, that’s pretty good.”
Glass was the lone Chief with two hits in each game.
CLEARFIELD — 9
Thayne Morgan rf-lf 3111, Zane Morgan c-1b 2000, Cade Walker 1b 3000, Nate Barr ss-c 3210, Eli Glass 1b-ss 4221, Allan Myers dh 2000, Bryce Timko p-rf 1111, Jake Sorbera lf-p 3112, Hayden Williams 2b 3100, Harrison Peacock 3b 4110, Reese Wilson cf 4010. TOTALS: 32 9 8 5.
LILLY — 5
Braedon O’Donnell ss-p 4000, Collin Reese 2b 3100, Dallas Hite cf 4330, Ashton Buck 3b 3001, Brock Talko c 3100, Tanner Perrone p-ss 3012, Salvador Cabrerra lf 3000, Dom Hall rf 3000, Luke Mardula 1b 2010. TOTALS: 28 5 5 3.
Score by Innings
Clearfield 100 233 0 – 9 8 6
Lilly 202 010 0 – 5 5 8
E – T. Morgan, Z. Morgan, Walker, Barr, Glass, Wilson; O’Donnell, Reese, Buck 3, Perrone 2, Hall. LOB – Clearfield 8; Lilly 5. SF – T. Morgan. SB – T. Morgan; Hite.
Clearfield – Timko 4-2/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K; Sorbera 2-1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.
Lilly – Perrone 5 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K; O’Donnell 2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.
HB – Perrone 1 (Williams); O’Donnell 1 (Barr). WP – Timko 1; Perrone 1.
W – Timko (3-2). L – Perrone. Sv – Sorbera (1).
Umpires – Kirk Swauger (plate), Carl Bopp (plate) and Bob Buck (bases).
* * * * *
LILLY — 3
T. Perrone ss 4120, Talko c 4000, Hite cf 4030, O’Donnell 3b 4110, Buck dh 2110, Reese 2b 3011, Hall rf 3010, Mardula 1b 2001, Cabrerra lf 3000. TOTALS: 29 3 8 2.
CLEARFIELD — 4
Wilson cf 4010, Barr ss 4010, Glass dh 4120, Timko rf 3000, Myers c 3210, Sorbera lf 3110, Williams 2b 2011, Peacock 3b 2000, Walker 1b 3011. TOTALS: 28 4 8 2.
Score by Innings
Lilly 001 002 0 – 3 9 3
Clearfield 021 010 x – 4 8 4
E – T. Perrone 2, O’Donnell; Barr, Timko, Williams, Dixon. LOB – Lilly 7; . 2B – Hite. SF – Mardula. SB – Hite 2.
Lilly – Richard Perrone 6 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.
Clearfield – Dixon 7 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K.
WP – R. Perrone 4.
W – Dixon (3-0). L – R. Perrone.
Umpires – Bopp (plate) and Corey Theys (bases).