Clarion Little League: Tournament Week…Rotary Champs!! (06/20/2018)
(Compiled and Written by CSZ Sports Writer Kenn Staub) Per tradition, Clarion Little League (CLL) capped off its 2018 season with a tournament during the final week (June 11-15). All games were played as scheduled, a rarity during the season that was. In fact, with the exception of a relatively brief rain delay during Wednesday evening’s game, the tournament went off without interference from Mother Nature. And it certainly was an interesting week of play. The fifth seeded Pizza Pub team pulled an upset Monday, following this up with another the next night to take out the first seed. Wednesday saw a seven inning nail-biter between Rotary and Delta. Friday, of course, was reserved for the tile game, which saw Rotary defeat a tournament-hardened Pizza Pub squad to claim the 2018 championship.
Monday, June 11 (GAME 1): Pizza Pub 7 – Lions 4
Lions (home) posted an 8-6 regular season record, which gave them the fourth seed entering tournament week. Pizza Pub (away), by virtue of its 5-10 record, was the tournament’s fifth seed. As such, when Pub claimed victory on Monday evening, the game’s result could be considered something of an upset.
The contest was scoreless until the third. Pub tallied one in the top of the frame, but a two run shot by Gabe Simko in the home half gave Lions a 2-1 lead. A scoreless fourth led into a fifth which saw Pub retake the lead. Pub converted two hits, two errors, and a walk into four runs. The big blow was struck by Ethan Rex, whose one out double plated Mason Gourley and Parker Miller. Down 5-2 going into its fifth inning at bat, the Lions’s Brady Pierce singled to score Simko and Jake Smith, tightening the game. Pub added one in the top of the sixth and then held Lions scoreless in the bottom to prevail.
Pub had six hits in the game, four of which were doubles. Rex doubled twice, Matt Alston and Kwynton Leadbetter once. Kohen Kemmer and Tanner Miller singled. Rex had two RBI and Alston drove in one. Miller committed two acts of thievery on the base baths, with Miller and Hayden Hindman swiping one apiece.
Kemmer started for Pub, striking out four in four innings. Nick Aaron came on in relief for the fifth and struck out two. Miller finished the game and recorded two punch outs.
Lions had four hits, shared by four players: Simko (home run), Smith (single), Pierce (single), and Braylon Beckwith (single). Simko and Pierce both had two RBI.
Simko was Lions’s starter, going three innings and striking out six. He was followed by on the bump by Smith, Pierce, and Lucas Mitrosky. Smith struck out two in an inning and two-thirds, Mitrosky one in the inning he pitched.
The loss eliminated Lions from the tournament, while Pub advanced to the semifinals to face Burns & Burns.
(statistics courtesy of Mike Smith’s GameChanger)
Monday, June 11 (Game 2): Delta Contractors 13 – SMI 2 (four innings)
The second game of Monday night’s quarterfinal saw third seeded Delta Contractors (9-6 regular season record) power past SMI (0-15 during the regular season). Delta (home) scored nine in the first and four in the second while keeping SMI (away) off the board during that same period, surging ahead 13-0. After a scoreless third, SMI plated two in the top of the fourth but it wasn’t enough to stave off a “ten-run rule” loss.
Recording hits for SMI were Brayden Murray (double, single), Jack Craig (single), Ben Aaron (single), and Wyatt Watterson (single).
Four Delta players had multi-hit games. Jesse Siwiecki, Logan Lutz, and Jase Ferguson each had triples as part of their two-hit efforts. Siwiecki and Lutz also had doubles. Ferguson’s other hit was a single. Jimmy Kerr’s two hit outing was the product of a first inning double and second inning single. Jayden Siwiecki chipped in a single.
SMI’s loss eliminated it form the postseason, whereas Delta moved on to a semifinal match-up with Rotary.
(statistics courtesy of Mike Ferguson’s scorebook)
Tuesday, June 12 (Semifinal 1): Pizza Pub 10 – Burns & Burns 8
In a rematch of the 2017 season’s championship game, Pizza Pub (away) took on the tournament’s first seeded team, Burns & Burns (away). Burns came into the contest sporting the league’s best regular season record, 12-2, while Pizza Pub was on the opposite end of the spectrum. This contest was proof records sometimes mean nothing in the postseason and why you play the game.
Burns kept Pub off the board in the first, scoring two of its own to go ahead 2-0. Pub battled back plating four in the top of the second, taking a 4-2 lead. A run by Burns in the second cut its deficit to one, 4-3. Burns held Pub scoreless over the course of the next two innings while tallying one in the fourth to tie the game 4-4. Pub plated three in the fifth and Burns one, putting the team in black and yellow ahead 7-3. Pub widened the margin by adding three more in the top of the sixth. Burns would not go quietly, however, as a two out power barrage by Dawson Smail (two-run homer) and Derek Smail (one-run shot) made it 10-8. Unfortunately for Burns, that was the extent of its scoring as Pub held on for the win.
Pub, with its second upset in as many days, advanced to Friday evening’s championship game.
(information courtesy of the Clarion News)
Wednesday, June 13 (Semifinal): Rotary 4 – Delta Contractors 3
Delta Contractors (away) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Jayden Siwiecki drove in his twin brother, Jesse, on a single to left. With one out and Siwiecki perched on first the rains came and umpire Justin Skiba was forced to halt the game. When play resumed, Rotary pitcher Bryce Brinkley struck out the next two Delta batters, ending the inning without further damage.
Rotary tied the game in the bottom of the first, the product of lead-off man Brinkley taking flight. Following a single to right, Brinkley took second and then third on wild pitches to the next batter. He scooted home on another wild pitch, this time during the third hitter’s at bat.
The home team took the lead for the first time in the second. Rotary’s Liam Huwar, who had doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch, scooted across the plate when a fly ball was dropped, putting Rotary up 2-1.
Delta came back to tie the game 2-2 in the third. Jase Ferguson ripped a two out drive to right and then raced around the bases to score as the throw home was delayed by a crucial split second.
Rotary retook the lead in the bottom of the frame. Tommy Smith found himself in scoring position when his hit to the outfield was misplayed. He subsequently capitalized on an Aiden Coulson grounder, racing home to give Rotary a 3-2 advantage.
Delta fought back and evened the score 3-3 during the top of the fourth. With two outs, Alex Love singled to left-center, taking second and third on wild pitches to the next batter. He eventually scored when Hunter Lechner stroked a single.
Jesse Siwiecki, Delta’s pitcher, struck out the Rotary side when they came to bat in the bottom of the frame, the start of a three inning scoreless lull. He had a 1-2-3 outing in the fifth, before surrendering two one-out singles in the sixth. At that point Delta’s manager brought Ferguson on in relief, who rose to the occasion by striking out the first two batters he faced.
Meanwhile, Smith, who relieved Brinkley on the bump for Rotary with two outs in the fourth, faced eight Delta batters through the end of the sixth, fanning four.
Then came the seventh inning, a frame that proved pivotal.
Smith started the inning for Rotary and struck out two batters. Rotary’s manager then went to the pen. Kriebel came on in relief, inducing a ground out from the only batter who came to the plate against him, setting the stage for his walk-off heroics.
Brinkley singled with one out to get things going for Rotary in the seventh, taking second on a passed ball and third on a wild pitch during Smith’s plate appearance. Smith walked, bringing Kriebel to the dish. Kriebel scored Brinkley with a single to right, winning the game 4-3.
Delta had six hits, including triples by Jesse Siwiecki and Ferguson and singles by Jayden Siwiecki, Logan Lutz, Love, and Lechner. Jayden Siwiecki, Love, and Lechner were each credited with an RBI. Jayden Siwiecki and Lutz stole a base.
Jesse Siwiecki was Delta’s starting pitcher. He struck out four in his five and one-third innings. Ferguson closed out the game, fanning two.
Brinkley and Huwar each posted two hits for Rotary, Brinkley two singles and Huwar a single and double. Kriebel, Coulson, and Brady Quinn singled. Kriebel, Coulson, and Brady Walker drove in one.
Brinkley, Rotary’s starting pitcher, threw three and two-third innings and struck out four. He was relieved by Tommy Smith, who fanned six in three innings. Kriebel pitched a third of an inning after Smith.
The win advanced Rotary into the championship game against Pizza Pub.
(expanded coverage and statistics from my story for the Clarion News)
Friday, June 15 (Championship Game): Rotary 5 – Pizza Pub 1
Pizza Pub’s (away) upstart run through the CLL tournament came to an end in the Championship Game at the hands of Rotary (home) and Tommy Smith. Smith, perhaps the story of the contest, was simply dominant on the mound, surrendering just a single hit and striking out ten in his complete game effort.
Rotary took a 1-0 lead in the first and held it through the second. Pub scored its only run of the game in the top of the third, briefly knotting the contest 1-1. After that it was all Rotary, who scored a run in both the third and fourth and two in the fifth to win 5-1.
Nick Aaron recorded Pub’s only hit of the evening, a two out single in the top of the first.
Smith was 2-3 for Rotary, connecting for a double and single. Bryce Brinkley tripled. Aiden Coulson and Brady Quinn were each good for singles.
Following the game, Rotary manager Bill Smith commented, “It was another great team effort. We hit very well as a team.”
To conclude with Smith’s own words, “It was a great night for the Rotary ball team.”
(statistics courtesy of Bill Smith’s scorebook)
(featured photograph of postgame handshake and photograph of Rotary courtesy of Diane Lutz; Pizza Pub photograph courtesy of Julie Aaron)