FLC forces deciding game|
Thursday, July 05, 2012
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
Four Leaf Clover cracked three home runs, including two in a 7-run, second inning to power past Clearfield, 13-9, Tuesday evening in the District 5 11- and 12-year-old Northern Tier Little League All-Star Championship.
The once-beaten Four Leaf Clover team's win over previously unbeaten Clearfield forces a deciding game today at Frenchville.
Luke McGonigal and Jesse Thompson smacked three-run home runs for Four Leaf, while Ty Bender continued his hitting tear with a 2-run shot that easily found the Susquehanna River behind the fence at McNamee Field. Bender now has six home runs in four all-star games.
"Just like I expected, Four Leaf is going to hit home runs," Clearfield manager Dave Learish said. "We're not going to keep the ball in the park. They're too good a hitting team and everyone up and down their lineup can get the ball over the fence.
"The key tonight was a couple pitches were belt high, and they hit some bombs."
"In my mind, what hurt us most was our defense. We put too many runners on, and then when they hit a home run it was a three-run homer. I continue to challenge the kids to play better defense. If we don't play defense and give up baserunners, they're going to score a lot of runs."
Matt Collins belted two home runs for Clearfield and collected six RBIs to keep his team in the game. He has four homers during the tournament.
And while the long ball was on full display, there were plenty of base hits to go around as well.
In a game with a total of 31 hits, Four Leaf had one more than Clearfield, 16-15.
"There were a lot of hits in this game by both sides ... a lot of nice, sharp hits," Four Leaf Clover manager Tim Morgan said.
"I was happy how we hit," Learish said. "Hit for hit, we were right there with them."
Four Leaf raced out to a 9-0 lead after batting in the top of the second inning. McGonigal and Bender hit their home runs in the second inning, and Dylan Confer slapped a pair of two-run singles, one in the first and one in the second.
The visitors had 11 of their 16 hits in the first two innings.
But Clearfield clawed back in the game, nearly cutting the deficit in half on one swing of the bat.
After Michael Ternoway singled and Matt Ryan and Wyatt Porter each drew one-out walks to load the bases, Collins unloaded them with a grand slam to right-center field.
The middle innings were largely uneventful, with only an unearned run being scored by Four Leaf in the fourth to give it a 10-4 lead. Confer knocked in Thompson with a groundout, giving him five RBIs in the game.
Clearfield threatened in the bottom of the third when Noah Bloom and Eli Glass each singled with one out.
But Four Leaf pitcher Zane Morgan struck out a batter then got a sparkling defensive play from second baseman Micah Heichel.
Heichel made a lunging back-handed stop of a ball off the bat of Josh Serena that had run-scoring single written all over it. Instead, Heichel made the stop and was able to gun down Serena by a step at first. It was one of four assists for Heichel in the game.
"Four Leaf is a very good defensive team," Learish said. "They're solid up the middle. We need to keep getting better defensively to stay in the ball game."
Thompson put Four Leaf ahead 13-4 with his three-run shot in the top of the fifth. Thayne Morgan and Jimmy Pilosky, who had both singled, scored in front of Thompson.
But once again, Clearfield rallied.
With two out in the bottom of the fifth, Ryan and Serena singled. Jeremy Learish followed and lifted a fly ball to the outfield that was misplayed. The miscue allowed Ryan and Serena to score and brought Collins to the plate.
Collins blasted his second home run of the night to lower Clearfield's deficit to five, 13-8.
"Matt hits the ball so hard and he hits it to all fields," Learish said. "It's just a matter of him getting on a pitch. He had some good swings and kept us in the ball game."
After Noah Rumsky relieved Glass and tossed a perfect sixth, Clearfield tried to put on the rally cap once more.
Serena's two-out double chased home Ternoway and the hosts had runners on second and third with Learish at the plate and Collins in the hole.
But Learish was retired on a good play by Four Leaf pitcher Confer to end the game.
"We were one batter away from the meat of our order," Learish said. "We were getting into a position where we wanted to be."
Thayne Morgan led all batters with three hits. Four Leaf's McGonigal, Bender, Pilosky, Thompson, Confer and Heichel and Clearfield's Collins, Rumsky, Jake Sorbera, Ternoway and Serena all had two.
The teams are back in action tonight at 6 at Frenchville with the Northern Tier title on the line.
Both teams fought," Morgan said. "Neither team gave up, and they both fought to the last out. I think it was a special game.
"So now it's winner take all on Thursday. We'll be prepared and I'm sure they'll be prepared. It could be another very similar, tough-fought game with a lot of hits.
"I think it's evenly matched and if anyone wants to come out and see a good game, it should be one."
Four Leaf Clover-13
McGonigal 3b 5123, T. Morgan 1b-cf 4330, Bender rf-c 4122, Pilosky lf 3320, Emigh lf 1000, Thompson p-1b 3323, Confer ss-p 4025, Z. Morgan c-p-ss 4000, Heichel 2b 4120, Dixson cf-rf 3110, Myers rf 1000. Totals: 36-13-16-13.
Learish rf-3b-lf 5110, Collins lf-cf 4226, Rumsky cf-p 3020, Sorbera p-ss 4020, Bloom 3b 2010, McGinnis rf 2010, Ternoway 1b 4220, Glass ss-p-3b 4010, Ryan 2b 2210, Coval 2b 1000, Porter c 0000, Serena c 3220. Totals: 34-9-15-6.
Score by Innings
Four Leaf Clover 270 130-13 16 1
Clearfield 040 041-9 15 3
Errors-Dixson; Collins 2, Glass. LOB-Four Leaf Clover 5, Clearfield 10. 2B-Heichel; Serena. HR-McGonigal (2 on, 2nd inning), Bender (1 on, 2nd), Thompson (2 on, 5th); Collins 2 (grand slam, 2nd, 1 on, 5th). SB-Pilosky. WP-Z. Morgan 2; Glass, Sorbera.
Four Leaf Clover: Thompson-1 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO; Z. Morgan-3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO; Confer-1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO.
Clearfield: Sorbera-1 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO; Glass-4 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO; Rumsky-1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO.
WP-Z. Morgan. LP-Sorbera.