Too Little, Too Late Against North Clarion (04/24/2019)
(By CSZ Sports Writer Kenn Staub) The weather on Monday (April 22) was perfect for baseball, however, the outcome for the Clarion Bobcats was less than perfect, as they fell 5-3 to the host North Clarion Wolves in conference action.
Clarion hung in the game throughout the afternoon, but it was a situation of too much, too little, too late. Despite scoring three in the final inning to cut into the Wolves lead, the Bobcats stranding eight in the first six proved haunting.
North Clarion opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, plating three, two of which were the product of consecutive triples. The Wolves added another in the fourth when a rap to left kept rolling in the unfenced outfield for an “inside the park” home run, giving them a 4-0 lead. They tacked on another run in the sixth.
Down 5-0 the Bobcats tried to make hay in their last at bat of the day. Nate Datko walked with one out and went to third on a Skylar Rhoades single. Rhoades took second a few pitches later, the product of catcher indifference. Cole Slaugenhoup was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
With the bases juiced, the fifth batter, Chas Kriebel, hit a grounder to third. Datko scored on the throw to first. That throw, despite getting Kriebel as he ran down the line, drew the first baseman off the bag, resulting in a collision between the Clarion and North Clarion player. Rhoades took advantage of the melee and scooted home, with Slaugenhoup following when the first baseman unleashed an errant throw.
After the dust had settled, Clarion trailed 5-3 with two outs. Lake Staub was hit by a pitch and his courtesy runner, Christian Simko, stole second with Drew Wrhen at the plate. Wrhen singled to right but Simko was thrown out trying to go from second to home, ending the game.
Datko and Wrhen both had two singles, with Rhoades connecting for another. Staub walked twice and was hit by a pitch. Datko, Skylar Pastor, and Noah DiTullio also received free passes. Slaughenhoup was hit by a pitch. DiTullio, Simko, and Wrhen stole bases.
Rhoades pitched all six innings, surrendering four hits. He struck out eight against two walks.
(Featured Image: A play at first; photographs courtesy of Christie Datko)