STATE COLLEGE – Unfinished business. A motto that fueled the Clearfield Lady Bison all season long. Some of the team’s theme’s these last few weeks unintentionally became queens of the comeback and walkoff winners. No matter what the moniker may be, the bottom line is the Clearfield Lady Bison are PIAA state champions in Class AAAA after their walkoff 3-2 victory over the Tunkhannock Lady Tigers Friday afternoon.
For anyone who’s followed their journey to the state title game, the Lady Bison have been down many of times, but they’ve never been out of a ballgame. Strong pitching, clean defense, and timely hitting were the magic formula that guided this team to the first state title in a team sport in the history of the Clearfield Area School District.
Similar to the Franklin and Beaver games, Clearfield was down in the state title game. Tunkhannock came to play in their own right and started off the scoring in the top of the second inning. A Hipps pitch hit Gabby Wood to start the inning, and the Lady Tigers made Hipps pay for one of the few mistakes she’s made all postseason long. A one-out double from Sydney Huff put the visitors on the scoreboard ahead 1-0.
That was all for now, but Tunkhannock added their second run in the top of the fourth inning. Emily Schultz reached on an error by Alexis Bumbarger to start the inning, but it was Bumbarger who would get the last laugh in this one. Still, at this point, Tunkhannock had all the momentum on their side. The error was costly as Schultz scored on the play to put the Lady Tigers ahead 2-0. However, this momentum did not last much longer.
Trailing 2-0 going into the bottom of the fifth inning, a two-run blast over the right field wall knotted the score at 2-2. The blast came courtesy of Lauren Ressler who has come up huge all season long, with no moments bigger than her two-run shot and fourth homer of the season that scored Ruby Singleton who had singled in the previous at-bat.
Now, it was time for Clearfield to turn to Emma Hipps in the circle again. Per usual, it was no problem for the Clarion University commit. Hipps recorded strike outs for four of the final six outs, helping bring her total to 10 for the game and her season total to 285. Keeping the game knotted at 2-2 going into the bottom of the seventh, it was a familiar spot this team has been in over the final few weeks of this campaign.
Again, this team proved the moment was not too big for any of them. Starting the inning off, Ruby Singleton reached on her second base-hit of the game. After a pop-out, Olivia Bender belted a double to right center to put two in scoring position with just one out. This brought up Alaina Fedder, who was intentionally walked to load the bases and put force outs at any base.
This brought up Alexis Bumbarger, who wasted little time as she was first pitch swinging. The result was a lofted pop-up into shallow left-center field over the head of the shortstop and out of the reach of the left fielder. After making sure it was going to touch down, Singleton scored her second run of the game, this one, the state title clinching run as the Lady Bison walked it off with a 3-2 win.
The Lady Bison out-hit Tunkhannock nine to three in the game, with Singelton, Bender, and Alexis Cole each picking up two-hit afternoons. Fedder, Ressler, and Bumbarger each came up with one-hit apiece, with none bigger than the bloop hit that made it the second win of the day for a Clearfield County team as the DuBois Central Catholic baseball team won the Class A state title in convincing fashion, 12-2.
Today is truly a special day to be a Lady Bison and a high school sports fan of area teams. This program made history as the first to capture a state team title in the history of Clearfield Area School District. It’s unquestionably something these girls, their coaches, and the community will always remember. Fittingly, they returned home to an escort by fire trucks to celebrate this incredible moment for the community. The 2022 season for softball has come to a close, and the Clearfield Lady Bison were one of just six PIAA softball teams left standing at the end.
TUNKHANNOCK – 2
Paige Marabell (C) 3000, Ella McNeff (2B) 3010, Emily Schultz (SS) 3100, Gabby Wood (1B) 2000, Kaya Hannon (P) 3110, Sydney Huff (3B) 3011, Erin Van Ness (LF) 3000, Emily Patton (DP) 2000, Hannah James (C) 2000, Elaina Kulsicavage (RF) 0000. TOTALS 24 2 3 1.
2B: Sydney Huff
TB: Ella McNeff, Kaya Hannon, Sydney Huff 2
RBI: Sydney Huff
ROE: Emily Schultz
HBP: Gabby Wood
SB: Ella McNeff, Gabby Wood
E: Sydney Huff
CLEARFIELD – 3
Emma Hipps (P) 3000, Ruby Singleton (CF) 4220, Lauren Ressler (1B) 3112, Olivia Bender (C) 4020, Alaina Fedder (SS) 3010, Alexis Bumbarger (3B) 4011, Kylee Hertlein (2B) 3000, Alexis Benton (RF) 2000, Alexis Cole (LF) 3020, Anna Twigg (LF) 0000, Paige Houser (CR) 0000. TOTALS 29 3 9 3.
2B: Olivia Bender
HR: Lauren Ressler
TB: Olivia Bender 3, Alexis Bumbarger, Alexis Cole 2, Alaina Fedder, Lauren Ressler 4, Ruby Singleton 2
RBI: Alexis Bumbarger, Lauren Ressler 2
ROE: Olivia Bender
E: Alexis Bumbarger
Score by Inning
Tunkhannock 0 1 0 1 0 0 0.
Clearfield 0 0 0 0 2 0 1.
Emma Hipps 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K.
Kaya Hannon 6.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HR.
W – Emma Hipps (21-2). L – Kaya Hannon (19-5).