Clarion Riverhounds Go 2-0 At West Middlesex Baseball Tournament (06/18/2018)

(By CSZ Sports Writer Kenn Staub)  The Clarion Riverhounds 9u baseball team played its first event of 2018 on the weekend of June 9-10, the West Middlesex 10u Annual Tournament. After winning both games of pool play on Saturday, the team was primed to make a run in the championship round come Sunday. Unfortunately for the boys from Clarion, heavy rains on Sunday forced cancellation of championship play. Though the team didn’t come home with any trophies, the players could certainly hold their heads high after going 2-0 against teams comprised predominately of kids older than themselves.

Game 1: Clarion Riverhounds 4 – Sharon Tigers 10u 3

Parker Miller stretches for a throw at first, as pitcher Eli Nellis looks on.

Playing as the away team, the Riverhounds jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first when Parker Miller singled to score Liam Huwar. They added two more in the third. A Dylan Smail single to center plated Eli Nellis for the first run of the inning. Parker Miller collected his second RBI of the game on a grounder to shortstop that scored Smail, giving Clarion a 3-0 lead. After being held scoreless through the first four innings, Sharon broke through in the fifth, scoring three to tie the game. The Riverhounds responded in the bottom of the frame. Smail doubled, driving in Huwar with what proved to be the winning run when Sharon was unable to score in the top of the sixth.

Smail (single, double) and Huwar (two singles) combined to collect four of the Riverhounds seven hits. Miller, Nellis, and Nathan Frederick each singled to account for Clarion’s other hits. Smail and Miller were credited with driving in two runs apiece. Both Frederick and Huwar stole two bases, Nellis and Smail each swiped one.

Huwar got the start for Clarion, going two innings and striking out four. Dom Corcetti pitched the third and fourth, fanning one. Frederick finished the game, throwing two and setting down four via strike out as he picked up the win.

Game 2: Clarion Riverhounds 22 – West Middlesex 1 (3 innings)

Ethan Rex hit his first home run against West Middlesex.

After a tight first game, the Riverhounds led West Middlesex from start to finish, taking their second contest of the day in a rout. Clarion, playing again as the away team, plated five in the first. West Middlesex scored one in the top of the second, making the score 5-1. The Riverhounds explosion came in the second, an inning which saw thirteen Clarion runners cross the plate to essentially secure the victory. Clarion shut-out West Middlesex in the third before tallying another four in the third to win the game via the “ten-run rule”.

The Riverhounds pounded out nineteen hits against West Middlesex, with six players having multi-hit games. The hit parade was led by Liam Huwar with three singles, while Eli Nellis (two singles), Dylan Smail (two singles), Ethan Rex (home run, single), Dominic Corcetti (triple, double), and Nathan Frederick (two singles) accounted for two each. Wyatt Watterson chipped in a double and Parker Miller, Alex Love, Trey Hooks, and Paul Craig all singled. Smail drove in five of Clarion’s twenty-two runs. Huwar, Miller, Watterson, Rex, and Corcetti were good for two apiece. Also driving in runs were Love, Hooks, and Nathan Frederick. Like in the first game, the Riverhounds stole six bases. Huwar swiped two and Craig, Miller, Nellis, and Smail commited single acts of thievery.

Nellis started the game and earned the win, striking out two in his two innings of work.

Manager’s Comments

Riverhounds Manager Rick Miller was pleased with how his team of nine year olds stepped up and competed against teams comprised of ten year olds from larger geographic areas. In addition, he liked how the Clarion players adapted to live pitching, as most only faced machine pitching last season. In addition to the Riverhounds’ fundamentally sound hitting, Miller cited strong team defense and good pitching as strengths. He does believe the team needs to work on some things, including further improving upon pitching, situational defense (bunt defense and defense against the steal), and bunting.

Miller also commended his teams dedicated players, coaches, and parents. Adding, “these kids work hard in the offseason and these tournaments give them a chance to showcase that.”

The Riverhounds are sponsored by Applied Pipeline of Knox and The Garage in Shippenville.

The Clarion Riverhounds (in alphabetical order): Dom Corcetti, Paul Craig, Nathan Frederick, Brinden Hartzell, Trey Hooks, Liam Huwar, Alex Love, Parker Miller, Eli Nellis, Ethan Rex, Dylan Smail, Wyatt Watterson, Talon Wilson
Coaches (not pictured): Rick Miller (manager), Patrick Craig, Luke Huwar, Chad Nellis

(statistics and pictures courtesy of RicK Miller)