Chiefs clinch playoff berth|
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
The Clearfield American Legion baseball team needed a win Monday evening at Lawrence Township Recreation Park to clinch a berth in the Central Penn League playoffs.
And while it got a little dicey late in the game, a win is exactly what Post 6 got.
Andrew Redden capped a 4-for-5 performance by belting a one-out single off the wall in center field in the bottom of the seventh inning to score Curtis Collins and lead Clearfield to an 8-7 win over visiting Altoona.
"It's really nice to make the playoffs in our first year in the league," Clearfield head coach Sid Lansberry said.
Redden had five RBIs in the contest and smacked a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning, but Altoona chose to walk Derek Danver in favor of facing Redden with Collins already on third base and just one out.
"We would have walked Redden if the situation was reversed," Lansberry said. "I didn't think they would pitch to him."
Collins led off the inning by drawing a walk off Altoona pitcher Matt McDonald after falling behind in the count 1-2. Collins fouled off three pitches and worked the count full during the nine-pitch at-bat.
Kyler Kephart followed by sacrificing Collins to second. Collins moved to third on the first pitch to Danver - a wild pitch - and Altoona intentionally walked him to bring up Redden, who made it pay for that decision, scorching a one-strike pitch off the wall in center field.
Clearfield broke on top of Altoona 6-1 after three innings of play, scoring in each of the first three frames.
Redden's first-inning blast gave Post 6 a 3-1 lead after one, and Cole Kephart added a solo shot that bounced off the top of the wall and over it in the second.
Kyler Kephart and Danver each had RBI singles in the third inning to help Clearfield stretch the lead to five, 6-1.
But Clearfield also stranded several runners on base throughout the contest, giving Altoona a chance to get back in the game.
The Chiefs left the bases loaded in the second inning and had two guys left in scoring position in the third. Jon Janocko's leadoff double in the fourth inning did not produce any runs, and Post 6 left a total of 12 runners on base.
"If we would have lost this game, it would have been about missed opportunities," Lansberry said. "We had so many guys on base."
Clearfield collected 15 hits off McDonald, getting 10 of them in the first three innings alone.
In addition to Redden's four-hit performance, Wyatt Westen was 3-for-3 and Kyler Kephart and Danver both had a pair of singles. Kephart also added two sacrifice bunts, including the key one in the seventh.
"McDonald's a pretty good pitcher," Lansberry said. "He was one of the keys to Altoona's varsity baseball success. We hit him pretty hard. We had a lot of hits."
But Altoona crept back in the game, picking up a run in each of the fourth and fifth innings to make the score, 6-3.
Redden's fifth-inning single plated Westen to put Post 6 on top, 7-3, but Altoona tied things up with four runs in the top if the sixth inning.
Chief starter Kyler Kephart ran out of gas in the sixth inning, but exited with a 7-4 lead.
Unfortunately for Kephart, Altoona was able to tie the game at 7-7, and he wound up with a no-decision.
"He pitched a solid game," Lansberry said of Kephart. "He just got tired."
Ronny Ogden finished off the sixth inning, inducing a comebacker with two runners on base. He pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning, striking out two batters and ended up earning the win when Redden drove home Collins.
Clearfield also played near-flawless defense, committing just one error, while getting several sparkling plays in the infield.
"Coleman (Kubala) made several nice plays (at third), and Derek did too (at short)," Lansberry said. "The whole infield played well."
Kubala had three assists and a putout during a five-batter span in the second and third innings.
Jake Diviney led Altoona's offense, going 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Trevor Arnold and Mike Pleva added two hits each. Arnold doubled to start Altoona's big inning.
Clearfield improved to 8-7 in the CPL.
The Chiefs travel to Beech Creek Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the first round of the playoffs.
Berardinelli ss 4110, Sinisi 2b 3210, Baker 1b 2200, McDonald p 2012, Diviney cf 4033, Chesney rf 4000, T. Arnold lf 4220, Pleva c 4022, E. Arnold 3b 4010. Totals: 31-7-11-7.
K. Kephart p-2b 2121, Danver ss 4121, Redden c-p-c 5145, Janocko 1b 4010, R. Ogden rf-c-p 4010, Timchak pr 0000, Kubala 3b 1100, T. Ogden cf 4110, C. Kephart 2b-rf 4111, Westen lf 3130, Collins lf 0100. Totals: 31-8-15-8.
Score by Innings
Altoona 100 114 0-7 11 1
Clearfield 312 010 1-8 15 1
One out when Clearfield scored the winning run in the seventh
Errors-McDonald; C. Kephart. LOB-Altoona 7, Clearfield 12. DP-Altoona 1. 2B-E. Arnold, Diviney, T. Arnold; Janocko. HR-Redden (2 on, 1st), C. Kephart (solo, 2nd). SAC-K. Kephart 2, Kubala. SB-T. Arnold, Sinisi. IBB-Danver. WP-McDonald; K. Kephart, Redden.
Altoona: McDonald-6 1/3 IP, 15 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 5 BB, 4 SO.
Clearfield: K. Kephart-5 2/3 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO; Redden-0 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO; R. Ogden-1 1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO.
Redden pitched to two batters in the sixth
WP-R. Ogden. LP-McDonald.