Clarion Edges C-L On The Diamond (04/23/2019)
(By CSZ Sports Writer Kenn Staub) Those who saw Clarion take on Clarion-Limestone (C-L) last Wednesday (April 17) were treated to an exciting baseball game. Both teams played well, but in the end it was the visiting Bobcats who came away with the victory, scoring two runs in the top of the seventh to win 2-1.
Lions’ pitcher Hayden Callen, who hurled a complete game, kept the Bobcats bottled up through the first six innings, facing only two batters over the minimum as C-L clung to a 1-0 lead.
Callen seemingly had things going his way even in the seventh, until a two-out double, followed by two walks and an aggressive call by Clarion manager Rob Jewett provided the Bobcats with the winning margin.
Skylar Rhoades led off the final inning with a single up the middle, stealing second and advancing to third on a wild pitch while Callen was in the process of striking out Clarion’s second hitter. Rhoades remained ninety feet from home as the third batter ground out.
With only one out standing between the Lions and victory, Clarion’s Lake Staub laced a double to right-center, scoring Rhoades and knotting the game 1-1.
“I saw their outfield was playing me pretty shallow, so I just wanted to get something out there in the gap. Harry (Callen’s nickname) threw a good game, he was throwing strikes all game, so I waited for my strike to hit and put it in play,” said Staub of his timely knock.
Callen walked the next two batters, putting the go ahead run, Christian Simko running for Staub, on third. With a 2-2 count on Clarion’s seventh hitter of the inning, Jewett sent Simko home, a steal which provided the game winner for the Bobcats.
Explained Jewett, “It was kind of a plan of mine. I was trying to get him off of third, trying to see if we could bait the catcher to throw. And I said, ‘if he throws we’ll just go,’ which he did. Kind of had to make something happen with two outs. Try to see if we could sneak one in and we were able to.”
Chase Kriebel, pitching the final three innings for the Bobcats, faced four in the bottom of the seventh, walking one and striking out the Lions’ final hitter to close out the game. He struck out seven and didn’t surrender a hit on his way to earning the win.
C-L scored their only run in the third off the Bobcat starter, Rhoades. Colby Himes led off with a walk, moving to second on a fielder’s choice. A Callen line drive pushed Himes to third, who scored when Ian Larson connected for a two-out single to deep short.
After that run the Lions loaded the bases when Drew Beichner walked, but could not plate another in the inning, leaving three on.
This was a common theme for C-L, who stranded 11 during the game, including two in each the first, second, and sixth.
On the day, Rhoades struck out five and walked six. He gave up four hits.
Staub and Skylar Pastor doubled for Clarion, with the former receiving credit for an RBI. Rhoades, Nate Datko, Cole Slaugenhoup, and Chase Kriebel singled.
Jewett was pleased with the way his team performed in the clutch, the second time this season the Bobcats have won a game in the final at bat.
“They took it down to the very last pitch. It’s kind of hard to read the team sometimes, they’re not the most talkative. So it worries me a little bit. But they stayed in. So I was proud to see them never give up and always stay in. It got kind of quiet in the beginning of the game and middle, but they made some noise. We made some mistakes, but they overcame. It was a good win for them, something to overcome,” reported Jewett.
(Featured Image: Christian Simko steals home to score the winning run; photographs courtesy of Christie Datko)
(adapted from an article by this author in the 04/23/2019 edition of The Clarion News)