DUBOIS — The school year has come to a close for Clearfield, however it didn’t mean the extracurricular activities were over. The Bison baseball squad, after earning a tough district and sub-regional Class AAAA championship the week prior, got the chance to see what they could do in the PIAA State playoffs. What that entailed for the first round was a trip to Showers Field in DuBois to face off with the Montour Spartans.
All the anticipation and anxiousness to get the playoffs going was evident as fans from both sides made the trip, with Clearfield as the designated home team. Unfortunately for the Bison, it only took one inning to seal their fate. A strong opening stanza from the Spartans put the Bison in a hole, one they could not get out of, as their playoff run came to a sudden stop in a 6-1 loss.
Hunter Dixon, having gotten the rest he needed for his arm, got the start once again. The senior has been nearly flawless this season on the mound. The lefty started out with a quick groundout of Brock Janeda. But then, a single from Nick Walker suddenly got things off the rails, and the senior ace rattled.
Gannon Kadlecik followed the single by hammering a 1-2 pitch into right field, bringing Walker home on an RBI-double to put the Spartans up by one.
Matthew J luchovick then decided to play the same song, different verse, doubling on a grounder into left field, bringing around Tony Markulin, who came in as the courtesy runner for Kadlecik. Mason Sike then grounded the first pitch he saw into center field, bringing in Vinnie Markulin, the courtesy runner for J luchovick. It wasn’t till Ryan Gallagher singled into right field for another RBI that ended the scoring in the inning, a 4-0 lead that was more than enough for the Spartans to hold onto for the remainder of the game.
Dixon’s opening inning struggles would be what handed him the loss in the final game of his high school career. He gave up all six runs in the game, all earned, while striking out seven.
Kadlecik, on the other hand, had a strong outing on the hill for the Spartans. He would strike out eight while only giving up one run on the day, and allowing three of the four Bison hits.
The Spartans added their fifth run in the top of the fifth when J luchovick had his second RBI-double, bringing in Walker.
Clearfield got that run back in the bottom of the inning when Morgen Billotte grounded out to first. Blake Prestash, who singled to start the inning, advanced to second on an error, then came home after a walk and the force out at first by Billotte. But, in the final inning, J luchovick added in one final RBI to his total. Despite him grounding out to first, it was still enough to bring Janeda around for the sixth and final run of the game.
Dixon was pulled at that point, and Karson Rumsky finished out the game for Clearfield, as Dixon had gone over the 100-pitch count limit.
Clearfield finishes the 2021 season with a final record of 9-12-1, winning both the District IX championship in Class 4A, and the District 5/8/9 Subregional championship.
SCORE BY INNING
Montour 400 010 1 – 6 10 1
Clearfield 000 010 0 – 1 4 0
Montour – 6
Brock Janeda-RF 3110, Nick Walker-2B 2220, Gannon Kadlecik-P 3011, Matthew J luchovick-C 4023, Mason Sike-1B/P 4121, Dylan Mathiesen-SS 4000, Ryan Gallagher-CF 3011, Aiden DeLuca-RF 3000, Chris Tarquinio-LF/P 3010, Tony Markulin-CR 0100, Vinnie Markulin-CR 0100. TOTALS 29 6 10 6.
Clearfield – 1
Morgen Billotte-3B 3001, Nolan Barr-2B 3000, Karson Rumsky-CF/p 4000, Nick Domico-1B 4000, Kyle Elensky-SS 2000, Matt Bailor-C 2010, Blake Prestash-DH 3120, Hunter Dixon-P/CF 3010, Cole Bloom-RF 1000, Andon Greslick-CR 0000, Elijah Quick-CR 0000. TOTALS 25 1 4 1.
2B: J luchovick-2, Kadlecik, Walker
HBP: Janeda, Walker-2/Bailor
PIK: Tarquinio, Janeda
Montour: Kadlecik-5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 8 SO, 3 BB; Tokarcyzk-0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 SO, 2 BB; Sike-1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 SO, 0 BB.
Clearfield: Dixon-6 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 7 SO, 1 BB; Rumsky-1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 SO, 0 BB.