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GANT: Bellefonte Drops Clearfield on Final At-Bat

BELLEFONTE, Pa. – Hoping to continue the hot hand they were given following Wednesday’s victory, the Clearfield Bison baseball squad were ready for another Mountain League contest. This time, it meant a trip on the road to Bellefonte to take on the Red Raiders.

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Apparently, all that momentum came to a lack-luster halt. The Bison and Red Raiders battled all afternoon, swapping the lead on four different times through six innings. But, the Bison could not hold on as Bellefonte managed to get a literal walk-off in the bottom of the seventh to secure the 10-9 triumph, and leaving a very sour taste in the mouths of the Clearfield dugout.

It was the Bison who got the lead first in the opening inning, putting up three runs. Nolan Barr came in on an error, followed by a sacrifice fly that brought Blake Prestash to the plate. Hunter Dixon then singled into center field to bring in an RBI, with Karson Rumsky coming home. Bellefonte came back in the bottom of the inning as Nick Capparelle came in on a groundout. Still, the Bison held a 3-1 advantage.

After getting another run in the top of the 2nd, Bellefonte answered back for the first lead change of the game as they put five runners across the plate in the bottom of the inning.

With the bases loaded, Seth Shuey drew a walk, then Max Rogers hammered a line drive into right field for a two-RBI single, tying things up. The Red Raiders got the lead two batters later, on another walk, and finally an RBI-single from Dylan Dann added the final run of the inning. What was a 4-1 lead for Clearfield suddenly became a 6-4 deficit.

But not for long as Clearfield got three more runs in the fourth on a pair of RBI-singles, plus a fielder’s choice. That was when both teams swapped the lead as when Bellefonte got two runs in the bottom of the fourth, Clearfield answered back with another pair in the top of the fifth.

Bellefonte tied things up in the sixth with a fielder’s choice, as Zach Swagger following a fielder’s choice double play would make it home on an infield single back to pitcher Kyle Elensky, who came in in the third inning.

After holding Clearfield scoreless in the seventh, Bellefonte needed one more shot to get the victory. Bobby Marsh walked to start the inning, putting the winning run on base. He would advance try to second on a bunt by Derek Fravel, but a fielder’s choice saved the play, but Capparelle made it to first, still keeping a run in play. Fravel struck out, and with two outs it was looking bleak for the home squad, and looking as though extra innings would be necessary. But, Shuey singled into left field, putting Capparelle on third.

With runners on the corners, Rogers was intentionally walked to load the bases, as Trevor Johnson was brought to the plate. Already having a trio of walks earlier, the hope was for Elensky to get the final out and force extra innings. But, with a 3-1 count already, Elensky’s final pitch of the game would be outside the box. It wasn’t an exciting blast into the outfield, but it was the true definition of a walk-off as Capparelle and his teammates easily advanced the bases, and Capparelle touched home plate to officially hand the Red Raiders the win.

Ryan Gearhart would be credited with the loss, tossing only two-thirds of an inning, but giving up five runs, all earned, and only striking out one while walking five. Overall, the Clearfield pitching would see 13 walks on the afternoon, one day after they yielded none in their victory over Huntingdon. Fravel would be credited with the win for Bellefonte, throwing three innings.

Clearfield (2-4-1) is on the road on Monday, but a much shorter trip as they will just go up Rt. 879 for a game against Curwensville, with first pitch set for 4:15 p.m.

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