HYDE — One day after a tough loss in front of the home crowd, the Clearfield Bison had to regroup on the diamond as the season was quickly drawing to a close. This time, the DuBois Beavers came into town on a warm and dusty afternoon, and showed to be one of the toughest opponents the Bison had all season. Early on it was DuBois taking the lead, then Clearfield battling back. The Beavers answered, and the Bison rallied. Both teams went pitch-for-pitch, right down to the wire.
But, the wire snapped for the Bison as the final inning proved to be heartbreaking for the them, falling to the visiting Beavers in a 15-11 stunner that left the entire home dugout with nothing but agony.
DuBois opened the game with a lead-off double from Garrett Starr, who then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. Chandler Ho then got the first run in thanks to an RBI-single into left field. One batter later, things really went in favor of the visitors. Despite three consecutive pick-off attempts from starting pitcher Morgen Billotte, Ho was able to make it to second on a stolen base, barely beating Matt Bailor’s throw. Then, on a 2-1 pitch, Alex Pasternack connected deep, and watched the ball go over the left field wall for a two-run homer to make the score 3-1.
The Beavers added another run in the second inning, but it came due to an error from third baseman Blake Prestash, who mishandled the grounder up the line in trying to get the out. However, Clearfield answered back in the bottom of the inning.
A single from Karson Rumsky, followed by a double from Bailor, put runners on second and third. Prestash got hit on the next at bat, and was favoring his hand for a bit, causing the game to be paused. He shook off the pain, took his base, and pitcher Garrett Starr faced loaded bases, with designated hitter Hunter Dixon at the plate. He would provide the early spark, hammering a two RBI-single up the left field line, cutting the lead in half. Cole Bloom pulled off a successful bunt to move Dixon to second, and Billotte followed up with a fielder’s choice that brought Prestash home.
Nolan Barr put Clearfield ahead with a two RBI-double in the next at-bat, then Nick Domico’s grounder up the gap between second and third was mishandled, allowing the sixth run to cross the plate. What was a deficit suddenly became a lead after two innings, as Clearfield held the 6-4 advantage.
Unfortunately, the lead disappeared when DuBois plated another five runs in the top of the third.
It all started with a bases-loaded walk from Nick Farrell, then Ryan Gearhart mishandled a fly ball in left field, which allowed two runs to cross the plate. DuBois was back out front, 7-6, with two outs on the board. Bison head coach Sid Lansberry then came out, making a change at the hill, as Billotte moved to center field, and Rumsky would take over. Sadly, it did not start out well as Rumsky would hit Nate Tyler, then Ho would connect on a grounder right up the center field gap, a two RBI-double that put the Beavers out front, 9-6.
However, Clearfield was not giving up, and chipped away over the next four innings, bringing in five runs.
Billotte doubled into center field in the third, plating two, bringing the Bison within one. The next inning, Rumsky tied the game with his own RBI-double into left field, allowing Kyle Elensky to cross home. The fifth inning only needing one pitch to put Clearfield out front, as Prestash stared down the first pitch from Tyler Newell, who came to the mound the inning prior, and put every ounce of power he could into the swing. The ball soared to left field, and went over the railing, bringing the Bison dugout onto the field to celebrate the solo home run to put them in the lead.
Clearfield added its eleventh run in the sixth, but it came thanks to a wild pitch from Newell, giving Rumsky a chance to turn on the jets, reaching home in time before the tag to make the score 11-9. The Bison had a pair of insurance runs in the bag, and went to the final inning ready to put the game away.
Then, it suddenly went wrong.
A pair of walks started the inning, and Carson Fields went for the sacrifice bunt. He didn’t need to sacrifice much, as the throw from Bailor to first went wide, allowing one run to cross the plate. Starr followed it up with a fly ball into right field, which looked like a solid catch by Bloom, but he could not keep the ball in his glove. Nick Farrell made it home on the RBI-single, and suddenly the game was tied up.
Hoping to keep the game tied, Lansberry decided to take Rumsky off the hill and put him back in center field, moving Billotte into left field, and taking Gearhart out of the lineup. In his place came in the Bison ace, Hunter Dixon.
The top pitcher on the Bison roster has always been strong when the pressure is on, and yet on this day, the pressure exploded. Despite a fielder’s choice to get the first out, he gave up a single to Ho, loading up the bases.
One batter later, Pasternack wasted little time to add to his RBI total. He connected on a 1-1 pitch, sailing it to the center field wall, clearing the bases and giving the lead to the Beavers. An error from Barr in the next at-bat allowed Pasternak to come across the plate for the sixth run of the inning. That would be the final run for the game, and also would hand Dixon the loss.
In the bottom of the inning, a fly out from Dixon, and a pair of strikeouts from Bloom and Billotte finished the game in heartbreaking fashion as Ho came in to pitch in the seventh to secure the win. Newell would get credited with the win in his three innings of work, only giving up three runs and four hits.
Clearfield (6-11-1) will finish out the 2021 campaign on Thursday when they host Bellefonte. It was back on April 15 when the Red Raiders took a close 10-9 victory over the Bison. First pitch for the season finale is at 4:30 p.m.
SCORE BY INNING
Dubois 315 000 6 – 15 10 4
Clearfield 062 111 0 – 11 12 4
Dubois – 15
Garrett Starr-P/SS 4322, Nate Tyler-C 3110, Chandler Ho-SS/CF/P 5233, Alex Pasternak-1B 5225, Bryson Dinkfelt-3B 4110, Trent Gaffney-LF 3110, Trison Cowan-CR 0000, Jordan Ell-DH 1300, Austin Mitchell-RF 1000, Alex Colbey-PH 1000, Nate Farrell-PH 0100, Nick Farrell-2B 0101, Carson Fields-PH/2B 2000, Tyler Newell 0000. TOTALS 29 15 10 11.
Clearfield – 11
Morgen Billotte-P/CF/RF 5133, Nolan Barr-2B 4112, Kyle Elensky-SS 3200, Nick Domico-1B 4001, Karson Rumsky-CF/P 4131, Matt Bailor-C 4120, Blake Prestash-3B 3211, Hunter Dixon-DH/P 3212, Cole Bloom-RF 3110, Shane Coudriet-CR 0000. TOTALS 33 11 12 10.
E: Ho, Dinkfelt, Ni. Farrell, Fields/Bailor, Barr, Gearhart, Prestash
ROE: Starr-2, Dinkfelt, Fields/Bailor, Barr, Domico, Elensky
2B: Starr, Ho, Pasternak/Bailor-2, Barr, Billotte, Rumsky
SAC: Tyler, Ni. Farrell
FC: Tyler/Barr, Billotte, Elensky
HBP: Tyler, Dinkfelt, Ell, Gaffney/Prestash
GIDP: Ell/Prestash, Rumsky
PIK: Dinkfelt, Cowan/Coudriet
Dubois: Starr-2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 0 SO, 0 BB; Orzechowski-1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 SO, 2 BB; Newell-3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 SO, 1 BB; Ho-1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 SO, 0 BB.
Clearfield: Billotte-2.2 IP, 4 H, 9 R, 4 ER, 2 SO, 3 BB; Rumsky-3.1 IP, Dixon-1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 0 SO, 1 BB.