DUBOIS — In a season that many thought would not lead to this point, the Clearfield Bison showed how much they could overcome on the baseball diamond. After a tough start where three of their first four games ended in mercy-rule losses, the squad closed out the second half of the season one game short of reaching the .500-mark. It was enough to earn them an opportunity at the District IX Championship game at Showers Field in DuBois. In order to achieve the same goal that came one year earlier, the Bison had to face off with the St. Marys Flying Dutch for the second time this year.
Early on, the Bison seemed to be going strong, even getting out of some tough situations on defense. While on offense, the team did struggle, but maintained just enough to keep the opposition honest. However, St. Marys found a groove in their final inning, and capitalized on timely hits, sending Clearfield back home as District IX runner-up in a 6-3 loss.
“We led the whole way, but just couldn’t cash in on opportunities we had early on,” Clearfield head coach Sid Lansberry said after. “It’s just one of those things. We have a young team, so I know we are going to be good entering next year.
“We just needed to generate a little more offense.”
The game started in a positive way for Clearfield. After a lead-off walk by Morgen Billotte, Anthony Lopez got a blooper into right field that ended up putting him on second, and Billotte in scoring position. One batter later, Hunter Rumsky caught a quick grounder, forcing the tag out at first, but it was enough to allow Billotte to rush home for the opening run.
The 1-0 lead would last until the fourth inning, where the teams exchanged runs. Clearfield got it done first thanks to an RBI-single by Lopez to make it 2-0. In the bottom of the inning, Lucas Bauer loaded the count, and ultimately drew a bases-loaded walk to bring Carter Price in for the first run the Dutch would score.
Rumsky’s time on the hill for Clearfield lasted just into the top of the fifth after another walk, this one to Logan Mosier.
A four-inning performance from Rumsky would have gone longer, but as the fourth inning wore on, the Bison right-hander clearly was feeling worn out, but a six-strikeout performance still seemed to be satisfying.
“Rumsky pitched well, but he was getting tired. I talked to him and he just couldn’t go, but it was a gutsy performance,” Lansberry said.
Both teams went scoreless through the fifth until the Bison added another run in the top of the sixth. Billotte, who came in for relief for Rumsky, blasted an RBI-double into center field that brought Christian Welker across home plate, giving Clearfield the 3-1 lead. But, the struggles offensively for the Bison ultimately led to a momentum shift in a major way.
A lead-off single in the bottom of the sixth by Tysen Beimel immediately got the attention of everyone. A walk by Bauer suddenly had the tying run on base. Charlie Coudriet then had a successful bunt to get on base as a fielding error by Braison Patrick, the lone error of the game, allowed Beimel to score. That error, and that run, suddenly got the wheels turning for the Dutch, and caused a parachute to get pulled for Clearfield.
The 3-2 score lasted through two more at-bats, as a fielder’s choice got the first out on the board, but a walk to Vinnie Lenze loaded up the bases.
Lansberry made the pitching change, pulling Billotte in favor of the pitcher that got the regular season finale victory, Craig Mays. Unfortunately, the 0-1 pitch to Price connected on a liner up the left field line, staying fair long enough for a two-RBI double to put the Dutch in the lead. As if that wasn’t enough, one batter later, Eli Rippey showed his teammate he can do the exact same thing. On the first pitch he saw, he lined the ball up the same way, staying just inside the foul line for back-to-back two-RBI doubles, making it a 6-3 score heading into the top of the seventh inning.
“Baseball has always been a momentum game, and when they (St. Marys) got it, we just could not get it back,” Lansberry said.
Hoping to get back into the game, the seventh inning began with Rumsky at the plate, but he grounded to second. A strikeout by Hayvin Bumbarger put the second out in the stat line. Cole Bloom would get struck on a 2-0 pitch, putting one runner in position to score. However, Clearfield’s hopes to have the game continue fell into the glove of Beimel, who caught the fly out by Will Domico to claim the District IX title, and end the season for Clearfield.
“To see where we were to start the year and how we finished. We started the year getting 10-runned for three of the first four games,” Lansberry said. “We ended the year winning three of the last four in the regular season. I’m really proud of how we finished.
“We are going to be good next year. We came together as the season went on, and we have a great group coming back. We entered this year losing eight seniors, seven of them were starters. For next season, everyone is coming back except one, so I’m happy with where we are next year. This was a tough game, but we got better, and we’ll continue to get better.”
Clearfield finishes the 2023 season with a final record of 9-12.
SCORE BY INNING
Clearfield 100 101 0 – 3 5 1
St. Marys 000 105 X – 6 8 0
Clearfield – 3
Morgen Billotte-cf/p/cf 3221, Anthony Lopez-ss 4021, Hunter Rumsky-p/lf/3b 4001, Hayvin Bumbarger-1b 4010, Cole Bloom-c 2000, Will Domico-rf 3000, Christian Welker-dh 1000, Elijah Quick-cr 0100, Matt Irvin-3b 3000, Kam Kushner-lf/cf/rf 2000. TOTALS 26 3 5 3.
St. Marys – 6
Lucas Bauer-p/3b 1001, Charlie Coudriet-3b/p 4110, Logan Mosier-cf 2100, Vinnie Lenze-c 3010, Carter Price-1b 3112, Dan Schutz-cr 0100, Eli Rippey-lf 4032, Carter Redmond-ss 3000, Connor Vogt-ph 1000, Cameron Coudriet-2b 1000, Ben Paul-ph/3b 1000, Aiden Beimel-ph 2000, Tysen Beimel-rf 2120, Jackson Vollmer-cr 0100. TOTALS 27 6 8 5.
- LOB: 9/11
- E: Patrick
- ROE: Ch. Coudriet
- 2B: Billotte/Rippey, Ch. Coudriet, Price
- FC: Mosier, Ch. Coudriet, Price
- HBP: Bloom
- SB: Billotte, Quick/Mosier, Ch. Coudriet
- Clearfield: Rumsky-4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 SO, 6 BB; Billotte-1.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 SO, 2 BB; Mays-0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 SO, 0 BB.
- St. Marys: Bauer-3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 SO, 5 BB; Ch. Coudriet-4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 SO, 1 BB.
W-Ch. Coudriet (4-3)
Final Bison Scorebard:
Date Opponent Score Record
3/27 BELLEFONTE 2 – 13 0 – 1
3/30 HOLLIDAYSBURG 5 – 15 0 – 2
4/03 @ Tyrone 3 – 4 0 – 3
4/06 @ Bald Eagle Area 2 – 12 0 – 4
4/10 @ Huntingdon 3 – 0 1 – 4
4/11 ST. MARYS 12 – 7 2 – 4
4/13 PENNS VALLEY 6 – 7 2 – 5
4/17 @ Philipsburg-Osceola 5 – 10 2 – 6
4/20 @ Bellefonte 0 – 4 2 – 7
4/21 @ Brookville forfeit 3 – 7
4/24 BRADFORD 12 – 1 4 – 7
4/25 @ Hollidaysburg 1 – 11 4 – 8
4/27 TYRONE 0 – 8 4 – 9
5/02 BALD EAGLE AREA ppd. 4 – 9
5/05 HUNTINGDON ppd. 4 – 9
5/09 @ Penns Valley 12 – 4 5 – 9
5/10 BALD EAGLE AREA 0 – 5 5 – 10
5/11 PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 5 – 4 6 – 10
5/15 @ Curwensville 10 – 3 7 – 10
5/16 @ Punxsutawney 3 – 8 7 – 11
5/17 HUNTINGDON 6 – 5 8 – 11
5/18 DUBOIS 13 – 2 9 – 11
5/22 D9 Championship vs. St. Marys 3 – 6 9 – 12