Four Leaf Clover 11 and 12s fall in District 5 Little League title game|
Monday, July 09, 2012
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
BELLEFONTE - After rallying from a winner's bracket semifinal loss to win the Northern Tier crown, Four Leaf Clover manager Tim Morgan knew his 11- and 12-year-old all-star team would have to play its best game on Saturday to keep its season alive and its bid for a District 5 crown.
The flawless effort that Morgan was looking for, however, wasn't there against Bellefonte, the Southern Tier champs.
Bellefonte, which went through its tier without a loss, ended Four Leaf Clover's season with a 9-4 win after scoring the final five runs of the contest to pull away from a pesky squad that battled tooth and nail until the final out was recorded.
"We told the kids coming in here that we'd have to play flawless ball," said Morgan. "They'd have to have tough at-bats, and they'd have to have their best game to win this. We didn't, but I give credit to Bellefonte. They played hard.
"This was, I think, the eighth game that we played. I think the kids were just wearing down. There's not much you can do when you play eight games in 15 days. ... Things get tougher and tougher as you go up the ladder."
Whether fatigue was setting in or they were just a little nervous - or maybe a little of both - Four Leaf fell behind 4-0 after two innings.
A pair of unearned runs came across for Bellefonte against Four Leaf starter Thayne Morgan, while a 2-run triple from Cade Fortney in the second extended the hosts' lead.
Like their Northern Tier opponents found out the hard way, more often than not, Bellefonte realized that you can't count out Four Leaf's lineup.
Zane Morgan opened the top of the third with a line-drive single up the middle against Bellefonte hurler Tyler Kregar.
After a pop out, Kregar walked Malachi Dixson, and Luke McGonigal followed with an RBI single to put runners on the corners.
Thayne Morgan belted Kregar's 1-strike offering for a 2-run double, and Ty Bender knotted the game at 4 with an RBI single of his own.
Bender moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, Kregar bore down and began an impressive stretch that kept Four Leaf off the scoreboard.
The Bellefonte righty struck out Jimmy Pilosky and then induced Jesse Thompson to ground out to third to end the threat.
Kregar allowed just three more baserunners after Four Leaf's offensive explosion in the third, where it registered four of its six hits in the contest.
Bender and McGonigal had singles in the fifth, but Kregar recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.
Kregar needed 82 pitches to pick up the complete game, where he walked one and struck out seven.
"We ran into a pitcher that was pretty fast," said Morgan. "I think we just struck out too many times. You have to put the ball in play. I think if we put it in play ... they made some nice plays in the field, but that gives us many more chances to make something happen."
After trading scoreless at-bats, Bellefonte regained the lead for good in the fourth with four more runs to chase Thayne Morgan from the mound.
Errors led to a pair of unearned runs against Morgan, but the Bellefonte lineup took care of the rest.
Bellefonte had four straight hits after an error and a flyout to force Tim Morgan to go to his bullpen.
The damage had already been done, however, as Bellefonte didn't look back.
Four Leaf's Dylan Confer allowed a run in the fifth on an RBI single from Kregar to set the final.
Bellefonte had 11 hits in the contest with all but one coming from players in the top four spots in the batting order.
"We told them that you have to make a play," coach Morgan said. "When the ball is hit to you, you've got to catch it to get that out. There were just too many times that we didn't make it.
"We're going to play more tournament ball throughout the month, and we'd like to play them again."
Four Leaf Clover-4
McGonigal 3b 3121, T. Morgan p-2b 3112, Bender rf-c-rf 3021, Pilosky cf 2000, Thompson 1b 3000, Confer ss-p 3000, Z. Morgan c-2b-ss-c 3110, Heichel 2000, Myers rf 0000, Dixson lf 0100, Emigh lf 1000. Totals: 23-4-6-4.
Reiter lf 3210, Breon lf 1110, Fortney 2b 3233, Kregar p 4231, Helms c 4021, Horner 3b 1001, Morrison 3b 1000, Crunick ss 2000, McClelland cf 0000, Shutika cf 2000, Shvenke 1b 3210, Wetzler rf 1000, Catchmark rf 2000. Totals: 27-9-11-6.
Score by Innings
Four Leaf Clover 004 000-4 6 3
Bellefonte 220 41x-9 11 0
Errors-Thompson 2, Emigh. LOB-Four Leaf Clover 4, Bellefonte 7. 2B-T. Morgan. 3B-Fortney. SF-Horner. HBP-Pilosky, Myers (by Kregar); McClelland (by T. Morgan). WP-Kregar 1.
Four Leaf Clover: T. Morgan-3 1/3 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO; Confer-1 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO.
Bellefonte: Kregar-6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO.
WP-Kregar. LP-T. Morgan.