Clearfield holds off Tri-County|
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
Baseballs were flying off the bats of Clearfield 11- and 12-year-old Little League All-Stars and out of the yard at a furious pace Monday evening at McNamee Field.
Turns out Clearfield needed every one of them.
Noah Rumsky belted two home runs and Matt Collins and Jeremy Learish each cracked one as Clearfield held on to defeat Tri-County, 11-10, in a District 5 Northern Tier winner's bracket contest.
Clearfield did all of its damage in the first three innings of play, scoring 11 runs on 10 hits to take a commanding 11-3 lead.
The top four batters (Learish, Collins, Rumsky and Jake Sorbera) in Clearfield's lineup accounted for seven hits, 10 runs and seven RBIs.
"Our hitting has surprised me," Clearfield manager Dave Learish said. "I thought hitting might be our nemesis, but so far it's been there."
What has been the nemesis of the Clearfield little leaguers has been defense. Clearfield committed six errors in the game that led to six unearned runs and helped Tri-County get back in the game.
"We need to get better on defense," Learish said. "When there were runners on, we threw the ball around a bit too much. We need to shore that up."
Tri-County got on the board first, plating an earned run off Clearfield starter Collins, who walked leadoff hitter Tyler Simpson and uncorked three wild pitches to send him around the base paths.
Collins made up for his first-inning wildness by launching the second pitch he saw from Tri-County starter Jake Meredith deep over the center field fence. Learish, who opened the frame with a walk, scored in front of Collins to give Clearfield a 2-1 lead.
Rumsky followed with a base hit and moved to second on a wild pitch before Sorbera reached on an infield error.
Sorbera took off for second during the next at-bat and got caught in a rundown before reaching second safely. Rumsky raced home during the rundown for Clearfield's third run,
Michael Ternoway plated Sorbera with a single and later scored on a Tri-County error to stake the hosts to a 5-1 lead after one.
Tri-County plated two unearned runs in the top of the second as two Clearfield errors prolonged the inning.
A passed ball scored one run and Grant King plated the other on a bases-loaded walk. But Collins was able to escape further damage by striking out the next two batters he faced on full-count pitches.
Clearfield wasted little time getting those runs back in the bottom of the second as Learish led off and gave a 2-2 offering from Meredith a ride over the fence to make the score, 6-3.
After Collins walked, Rumsky got in on the power surge by hammering the second pitch he saw over the wall to up the advantage to 8-3.
"There were some big swings," Learish said. "It was exciting to watch the kids. It was catchy tonight."
Clearfield added one more run as Sorbera legged out a triple and scored a pitch later on a Noah Bloom groundout.
Sorbera relieved Collins on the mound in the third and, despite a walk and a hit batter, got out of the inning unscathed. He struck out two batters looking in the frame.
Rumsky then gave Clearfield a commanding 11-3 lead in the bottom of the inning, launching his second two-run bomb of the game. Collins, who walked, scored ahead of Rumsky, who was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBIs.
Collins also scored three times, hitting the home run and walking twice.
"Noah has been hitting the ball all year," Learish said. "And so has Matt when he gets pitches to hit."
Tri-County pecked away at the Clearfield lead, getting two runs in the fourth inning and adding one in the fifth.
Meredith supplied Tri-County with a little power, smacking a two-run homer in the fourth. The run in the fifth was unearned.
While Tri-County was inching back, its third pitcher of the game - King - was keeping Clearfield's bats silent.
King tossed two scoreless innings, giving up only a walk to Ethan McGinnis.
Trailing 11-6, Tri-County nearly pulled off the comeback, scoring four runs in the top of the sixth on two hits and two Clearfield errors.
Parker Mitchell had a run-scoring double in the frame and later scored on Adam Mortimer's infield single. Cory Lehman added a sacrifice fly, and another Tri-County run scored on a throwing error.
But when he needed it, Sorbera produced the necessary pitch, getting Simpson to line out to shortstop to end the game.
Sorbera also ended Tri-County threats in both the fourth and fifth innings with strikeouts.
He tossed four innings of relief to get the win. Sorbera allowed seven runs, but only three were earned. He struck out seven batters and walked five.
"He made some big pitches," Learish said of Sorbera. "The last pitch was a knuckleball. He mixed his pitches when he needed to and got big outs."
Clearfield is back in action Friday at Philipsburg-Osceola in the winner's bracket final. P-O topped Four Leaf Clover, 15-13, on Monday.
Tri-County travels to Milesburg Wednesday in an elimination game.
PINCH HITS: Tri-County stranded nine runners, while Clearfield left six on base ... Clearfield pitchers struck out 12 Tri-County batters, including catching eight looking. Five of the eight caught looking were to end innings with runners in scoring position ... Clearfield's Eli Glass was 2-for-2 ... Simpson, Meredith, Mitchell and Mortimer each scored two runs for Tri-County.
Simpson cf 3200, King ss-2b-ss-p 3011, Jones 2b-lf-1b 3100, Meredith p-ss-3b-ss 2212, Franks 3b 1100, Brown rf 1000, Moore rf 3000, Wenner 2b 0000, Mitchell lf-p-3b 3211, Mortimer 1b 2211, Roberts lf 1000, Lehman c 1001, Bucha c 2000. Totals: 25-10-4-6.
Learish lf 3211, Collins p-1b 2312, Rumsky cf 4334, Sorbera c-p 4220, Bloom ss-3b 4001, Ternoway 1b-2b 3111, Glass 3b 2020, Ryan ss 1000, Coval rf 2000, McGinnis rf 0000, Porter 2b-c 2000. Totals: 27-11-10-9.
Score by Innings
Tri-County 120 214-10 4 4
Clearfield 542 00x-11 10 6
Errors-Jones 2, King 2; Collins 2, Ternoway, McGinnis, Ryan, Porter. LOB-Tri-County 9, Clearfield 6. DP-Tri-County. 2B-Mitchell. 3B-Sorbera. HR-Mereidth, (1 on, 4th inning); Collins (1 on, 1st), Learish (solo, 2nd), Rumsky 2 (1 on, 2nd, 1 on, 3rd). SF-Lehman. SB-Mortimer; Sorbera, Rumsky. HBP-Roberts (by Sorbera). WP-Meredith 2, King; Collins 4, Sorbera 4. PB-Sorbera 2.
Tri-County: Meredith-1 2/3 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 0 SO; Mitchell-1 1/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO; King-2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO.
Clearfield: Collins-2 IP, 0 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 5 SO; Sorbera-4 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 7 SO.