For much of the District 5, 11- and 12-year-old Little League Tournament, the Clearfield All-Star team’s success was built around solid defense and efficient pitching.
Monday at McNamee Field, however, Clearfield struggled with both in an 11-0 loss to Bellefonte in a loser’s bracket elimination game, which lasted just five innings due to the 10-run rule.
Bellefonte advances to play Bald Eagle Area Wednesday evening in the loser’s bracket final. The winner gets State College in the title game on Saturday.
Clearfield committed five errors, which led to seven unearned runs, and three pitchers issued a total of 10 walks. Eight of the 11 Bellefonte runners that crossed home plate reached the base paths by either walk or error.
“You get a couple walks working against you and then you make a couple errors and it can be really tough to come back from that,” Clearfield head coach Jack Rumfola said.
“We’ve played awesome defense (all tournament), and we’ve been in jams and our defense got us out of them. That didn’t happen tonight.”
Bellefonte put a run on the board in the top of the first when leadoff hitter Peyton Vancas drilled the first pitch of the game into the outfield for a single and scored when Reese McCloskey’s two-out base hit was misplayed.
Bellefonte scored two more unearned runs in the second inning when the first two runners reached on consecutive Clearfield errors. A wild pitch and an Amryn Carson RBI double produced the runs.
“They set the tone right off the bat with a couple hard hit balls,” Rumfola said. “We were able to get out of that first inning, but it seemed like they were hitting the ball hard in every inning just getting our guys on our heels. I think our guys were just wore out.
“We were pumped up for a game Saturday and it got rained out. We played (Sunday) night and had a real tough game and had to come right back and play another game.”
Bellefonte broke the game open with five runs in the top of the third.
The visitors sent 11 batters to the plate, but only had two hits. A hit batter, another Clearfield error and five walks did most of the damage.
Lexi Fravel and Vancas each drew bases-loaded walks, Tate Tooker had an RBI single, Carson picked up a sacrifice fly and a fifth run scored on an infield error.
Up 8-0 in the top of the fourth, Bellefonte looked as if it might put the game away, loading the bases with just one out.
But Clearfield’s Hayden Rumsky slammed the door on Bellefonte, needing just three pitches to get a popout and fly out and keep his team in the game.
“He did a real good job,” Rumfola said of Rumsky. “And that is one thing I can say about all these kids. We ask them to do whatever and they do it for us. They’ll play any position even if they’re aren’t comfortable just to get us through an inning. They have that good, next man up concept.”
Rumsky looked headed for a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, but after getting the first two Bellefonte batters out, Clearfield’s fifth error of the game gave the visitors extra at bats and they took advantage.
Bellefonte scored three more unearned runs in the frame to take an 11-0 advantage heading to the bottom of the fifth.
Clearfield’s Nate Wriglesworth led off the home half of the frame with an infield single, but Christian Welker flied out to deep right and Rumsky hit into a double play turned by Bellefonte shortstop Vancas to end it.
Clearfield had just four hits in the game as two Bellefonte pitchers combined on the shutout.
Jake Rumfola, Carter Freeland and Colton Bumbarger joined Wriglesworth, each hitting singles.
Parker Capparelle picked up the win in relief for Bellefonte, tossing the final three innings and allowing three hits and a walk while striking out one. Bradley Mishock pitched the first two frames, giving up a hit and two walks, while striking out three.
Clearfield finished the tournament with a 3-2 record.
“I am excited about this team,” Rumfola said. “They exceeded our expectations. But once you get into the heat of things, you want to win more and keep going. These kids did everything I asked of them, and I had a great coaching staff helping me.
“Coach Patrick, Coach Welker, Coach Greslick, Coach Bumbarger and Coach Rumsky helped me. They were all down here at 3 o’clock in 90 degree heat helping me get the field ready, and then these kids come down and practice in that heat. You have to give them credit.”
Despite bowing out of the district tournament, Clearfield still has plenty of baseball left this summer.
“We have a full docket. Every weekend in July we have a tournament scheduled and I’m hoping these kids keep working and have some good, strong showings.”
Vancas ss 3111, Carson 1b 3012, Gall c 3000, McCloskey lf-cf 3120, Capparelle cf-p 1200, Mishock p 2100, Ebeling ph-rf 1110, Henry 2b 2201, Garbrosek ph 0200, Smith rf 2011, Fravel ph-lf 1101, Tooker 3b 3011. Totals: 24-11-7-7.
Welker ss-p-ss 3000, Rumsky 1b-p 1000, Williams rf 1000, O. Owens ph 1000, Greslick c 1000, N. Owens 3b-1b 1000, Freeland cf 1010, Bumbarger lf-c 2010, Patrick 2b 1000, Lutz 2b 1000, Rumfola 3b-ss-3b 2010, Mays p-ss 1000, Wriglesworth lf 1010. Totals: 17-0-4-0.
Score by Innings
Bellefonte 125 03—11 7 1
Clearfield 000 00— 0 4 5
Errors—Fravel; Bumbarger, Welker 2, Patrick, Freeland. LOB—Bellefonte 10, Clearfield 5. DP—Bellefonte 2. 2B—Carson, Ebeling. SF—Carson. HBP—Capparelle (by Mays). SB—Gabrosek 2, Mishock 2. WP—Mishock, Capparelle Mays 2, Welker 3, Rumsky.
Bellefonte: Mishock—2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO; Capparelle—3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO.
Clearfield: Mays—2+ IP, 5 H, 8 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 SO; Welker—1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 2 SO; Rumsky—1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO.