Philipsburg tops Clarence, advances in CCBL playoffs|
Monday, August 06, 2012
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
PHILIPSBURG - Matt Curtis hit a milestone home run, Parker Watson pitched out of a seventh-inning jam and the Philipsburg Pirates held off Clarence, 6-5 Sunday afternoon at the Don Womer Baseball Complex, to win the best-of-5 Centre County League semifinal series that looked to be a laugher after the first two games, 3-2.
With the win, Philipsburg advances to the CCBL finals against Lemont.
The Pirates won the first two games of the series by a combined 46-11 tally, scoring 23 runs in each blowout.
But Clarence came roaring back to win Games 3 and 4 by scores of 9-7 and 5-1, respectively. And it nearly roared back from a 6-0 deficit in the finale as well.
"Clarence is a lot better ball team than they showed in those first two games," Philipsburg first baseman Tyler Good said. "They can pitch and hit, and they can play defense.
Hats off to both teams' pitchers today. Everyone threw great. With the conditions up here with the wind ... everyone knows how it is here."
The wind may have helped carry a few of the four balls that left the yard, including a fourth-inning solo shot from Curtis that gave the Pirates a 6-0 lead.
Turns out the homer - Curtis' first in CCBL action ended up being the game-winning run.
"That was his first County league home run," Good said. "He played great. He's a great leadoff guy - a great tone-setter for us. He gets on base and we start rolling from him."
Curtis drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first inning to get Philipsburg's offense going.
Watson hit a beautiful sacrifice bunt down the third base line, nearly beating the throw from Clarence pitcher Tyler Rumsey. Curtis went all the way from first to third on the bunt.
Ryan Mostyn followed with a walk, and he and Curtis walked home in front of John Shaffer, who clubbed a three-run homer over the fence in left field to give the hosts an early 3-0 lead.
"When we get ahead like that, I think it's nice for the rest of the team," Good said. "We get relaxed. No one's pressing. Our pitchers throw strikes and we play good defense.
"That's what we said before the game ... get ahead. Put them down early and let Tyler Golden throw strikes. He did a great job today."
Golden tossed four scoreless innings, before surrendering a solo shot to John Schall, who led off the top of the fifth with the bomb.
Golden only needed 20 pitches to get through the second, third and fourth inning, enjoying a pair of 1-2-3 frames.
He did tire in the sixth, and was pulled after surrendering a two-run homer to Brad Young with one out.
The Young home run pulled Clarence closer, 6-3, after six innings.
While the Mounties were closing the gap, relief pitcher Brian Kochik was keeping the Pirates off the board.
Kochik relieved Rumsey in the bottom of the fourth after Curtis' home run and allowed only one hit and one walk, while striking out four the rest of the way.
Curtis smacked a leadoff double off Kochik in the sixth, but was left stranded at third base to end the inning.
"He kept us off-balance with his fastball," Good said. "He's got a good running two-seam that came in on us a little bit."
Clarence put together a rally in the top of the seventh as Justin Koleno singled to start the frame and moved to second on wild pitch from Watson.
After Watson got a strikeout and popout, he issued a walk to Dylan Schall and allowed a single to Young to load the bases.
John Schall knocked in two runs with a single, his fourth hit of the game.
But Watson got Dave Urbanick to ground out to end the game.
And. of course, even the final out needed a little drama.
The ball was hit between first and second, where Good ranged to his right to field it. The ball kicked off the heel of his glove and caromed behind him.
But Curtis was there to back him up, gloving the ball and firing to Watson, who was covering first, to get Urbanick by a step.
"I can't believe Matty was there, and I'm glad Parker was covering the bag," Good said.
"Parker's a young kid and he threw great. And we're going to ask that of him again in the finals."
Curtis' two hits led Philipsburg, which had just five in the contest.
A.J. Robinson had an RBI single in the third, while J.D. Mason knocked in a run on a fielder's choice.
Philipsburg hosts Lemont Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. at the Don Womer Baseball Complex.
Je. Koleno cf 4020, Ju. Koleno rf 2120, Kochik c-p 3000, G. Schall 3b 3100, D. Schall 2b 3100, Young lf-c 4122, J. Schall ss 4143, Urbanick 1b 3000, Romine dh-lf 3000, Rumsey p 0000. Totals: 29-5-10-5.
Curtis 2b 3221, Watson cf-p 2000, Mostyn ss 3200, Shaffer dh-3b 2213, Golden p 0000, Robinson rf 3011, Good 1b 2000, Daye 3b-lf 3010, Mason c 3001, Winters lf 3000, Lidgett cf 0000. Totals: 24-6-5-6.
Score by Innings
Clarence 000 012 2-5 10 4
Philipsburg 302 100 x-6 5 0
Errors-J. Schall 2, Ju. Koleno, G. Schall. LOB-Clarence 9, Philipsburg 8. DP-Philipsburg. 2B-Daye, Curtis. HR-J. Schall (solo, 5th), Young (1 on, 6th); Shaffer (2 on, 1st), Curtis (solo, 4th). WP-Watson.
Clarence: Rumsey-3 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO; Kochik-3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO.
Philipsburg: Golden-5 1/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO; Watson-1 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO.