Clarion Advances To PIAA Championship Game With 1-0 Win Over Greensburg Central Catholic (06/14/17)
(By CSZ Sportswriter Kenn Staub)
Greensburg Central Catholic (GCC) flinched first. In a measure of just how closely played Monday’s PIAA Class A semifinal game was, the flinch didn’t come until there were two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Unfortunately for GCC that flinch enabled Clarion to score the only run of the game, giving the Bobcats a 1-0 walk-off victory and seat at the table in Thursday’s championship game.
Clarion entered the bottom of the seventh with the looming prospect of extra innings in a scoreless ball game. Senior Kyle Patterson led off for the Bobcats, gaining first when he was hit on the helmet by a 1-2 pitch and advancing to second as fellow senior Dominic Fleming laid down a sacrifice bunt. Junior Spencer Miller, Clarion’s leading hitter for the season, was then the beneficiary of an intentional walk. Patterson and Miller moved to third and second respectively when senior Ryan Anthony grounded out to the second baseman. With two outs Senior Reed Anthony made the most decisive bat-to-ball contact of the game, hitting a chopper which the third baseman bobbled. An alert Patterson took advantage of the GCC miscue, sprinting home and ending the game.
Up until the bottom of the seventh, neither team could seem to get much going. Clarion put runners in scoring position during the first, second, and fifth innings but was stymied by quality pitching and capable fielding in each instance. GCC was only able to eke out two singles and never advance a runner past first into scoring position during the first five innings. The Centurions rallied in the sixth, however, when a blooper to shallow right field and a walk gave them runners on first and second with two outs. The uprising was quelled when junior Sterling Conner made perhaps a season saving play to end the inning, diving left to snag a sharply hit GCC drive into the right-center gap.
Clarion’s four hits, all singles, were off the bats of Fleming (1-2), Miller (1-3), and freshman Nate Datko (1-3) and Skylar Rhoades (1-2). Reed Anthony started on the mound for the Bobcats, hurling six scoreless innings and fanning six. Miller came on in relief at the start of the seventh, facing three batters and getting credit for the win.
Clarion (21-3) will now face the Meyersdale Red Raiders (20-6) out of District 5 in the PIAA Class A championship game on Thursday at Lubrano Park in State College. Meyersdale advanced to the championship game when they scored on a two out, bases loaded walk in the eighth innings against High Point Baptist Academy. First pitch is scheduled for 12:30.
(Thanks to Kenn Staub for this article. LET’S GET ONE MORE, BOBCATS!!!!)