HYDE — The weather was not looking too promising as Monday afternoon progressed. On the docket, the season-opening game for the hard-ballers of the Clearfield Bison. The diamond was damp, but the squad was ready, and the competition to start the season came in the form of Mountain League rival Bellefonte.
The Red Raiders got to Clearfield early, yet the home squad would not back down. However, the combination of not being able to crack starting pitcher Dominic Capperella plus some timely hitting allowed Bellefonte to rout the Bison, 13-2, in just five innings.
“Bellefonte is one of the best teams in the league,” Bison head coach Sid Lansberry said afterwards. “We’ve only been on the field one time before today, and that certainly added to the difficulty. Some of our pitchers got behind, and Bellefonte took advantage. They are a strong-hitting team.”
On the bump to start for the Bison was Hunter Rumsky, and his first batter was a four-pitch walk to Trevor Johnson, who would steal second during Peyton Vancas’ time at the plate. After moving to third on a put-out, Johnson would score on a sacrifice fly from Alexander Ebeling to give the visitors the opening 1-0 lead. That lead would be one they would not relinquish.
Key to that was Capperella’s pitching.
From the first pitch to his final, he was “dealing”. In the first three innings, of the 10 batters he faced, seven of them went down to strikeouts. Half of those saw the batters take a shot at the ball, with the other three just looking as the pitch went by them in the zone. His day would go for nearly the entire length of the game, as he struck out 11 batters in his effort, walking only three.
“He’s a Division-I bound pitcher, so he’s a tough pitcher to face. And again, we’ve only been able to go against a live pitcher one time, that being in the scrimmage,” Lansberry said. “We made some mistakes, as well. The little things that we should be doing right, we weren’t.”
Bellefonte got another run in the second with an RBI-single courtesy of designated hitter Levi Purnell. But it was the fourth inning when things opened up.
After a flyout, one of the miscues came during Purnell’s second at-bat. He would be caught looking on what was strike three, but catcher Cole Bloom mishandled the ball. So, Purnell took his shot at making it to first base. He would do just that to put a runner on. Johnson would single to put runners on first and second, and after a strikeout by Vancas, Ebeling would walk on four consecutive pitches, loading the bases. Having already made a pitching change after the third inning to Craig Mays, he would end up catching Triston Heckman in the side for a bases-loaded hit by pitch score to make it 3-0.
Next at bat was Braedyn Kormanic, and after seeing one strike go by him, and a ball go slightly outside, he struck on the 1-1 pitch. The ball hammered off the bat so hard it went deep, and deeper, so far that center fielder Morgen Billotte even tried to go up for it but the ball was above the outfield wall. The blast to center field was a bases-clearing grand slam to turn a 3-0 lead into a massive 7-0 advantage, taking a lot of wind out of the sails in the home dugout.
The fifth inning was just as tough for the Bison, as another six runs went on the board.
Two singles started the inning, and then Johnson connected on an RBI-single to deep center field to make it 8-0. After a walk by Vancas, Lansberry made another pitching change, handing the duty on the hill to Isaac Durandetta. He would get a fly out in his first go, but Heckman would walk and then Kormanic nailed an RBI-single to make it 10-0. Vancas scored on a ground out by Capperella, and a two-RBI single from Josh Brown made the score 13-0 midway through the fifth.
It would be the bottom of the inning when Clearfield finally managed to get on the board thanks to a two-RBI single by Billotte, but by then the game was well in hand, as the 13-2 score resulted in the 10-run Mercy Rule taking effect..
Rumsky would get tagged with the loss on the afternoon. He would go three innings, giving up a pair of earned runs while only striking out two.
Despite the loss, the one thing that Lansberry was happiest about was just being able to have in-game experience for his squad.
“Even though the score did not come out the way we hoped, I’m glad we played today. The forecast starting at 11 was stating it would be a steady rain,” Lansberry said. “Otherwise, we would have needed to play Wednesday, and that’s tough because it meant we’d have to go back-to-back.
“We had enough patience to wait it out, and the fact we got the game in is the most important part. I know there’s better things ahead. There’s an old saying that you either win, or you learn. Today, we learned a lot.”
Clearfield (0-1) will be back on their home diamond Thursday afternoon for a 4:30 p.m. start against Hollidaysburg.
SCORE BY INNING
Bellefonte 110 56 – 13 12 1
Clearfield 000 02 – 2 4 1
Bellefonte – 13
Trevor Johnson-rf 3321, Peyton Vancas-2b/p 2100, Alexander Ebeling-cf 3101, Triston Heckman-ss 2212, Braedyn Kormanic-c 4215, Dominic Capperella-p/lf 4021, Caleb Stock-cr 0000, Josh Brown-3b 4012, Jacob Corman-1b 4220, Levi Purnell-dh 3221, Ethan Tomasacci-cr 0100. TOTALS 29 13 12 13.
Clearfield – 2
Cole Bloom-c 3110, Anthony Lopez-ss 2000, Morgen Billotte-cf 3012, Hunter Rumsky-p/1b 3020, Will Domico-lf 2000, Elijah Quick-2b 2000, Hayvin Bumbarger-1b 1000, Isaac Durandetta-p 0100, Christian Welker-3b 1000, Matt Irvin-rf 1000, Kam Kushner-rf 1000, Derrick Mikesell-3b 1000. TOTALS 20 2 4 2.
- E: Vancas/Welker
- ROE: Johnson/Billotte
- 2B: Corman/Rumsky
- HR: Kormanic
- GS: Kormanic
- HBP: Heckman
- SB: Johnson
- Bellefonte: Capperella-4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 11 SO, 3 BB; Vancas-0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 SO, 0 BB.
- Clearfield: Rumsky-3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 SO, 2 BB; Mays-1 IP, 6 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 2 SO, 2 BB; Durandetta-1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 SO, 1 BB.