MEADVILLE — The DuBois 11-year-old team was outdone by the home run ball in their opening game of the Section 1 Tournament on Thursday evening.
Clarion blasted three home runs in the game, plus two more hits for extra bases as they downed DuBois, 7-4.
Clarion was led by 3-for-4 nights from Tommy Smith and Dawson Smail. Smith hit two home runs in the game –a two-run homer in the first and a three-run shot in the fourth –while Smail knocked a solo homer in the sixth.
“There were a couple of pitches that were up,” said DuBois manager T.J. Wingard. “That Smith boy is a good hitter. A couple pitches up and a couple homers, and a couple errors that we made in the field, that’s not a 7-4 ballgame. It could have been the other way.”
With the loss, DuBois now drops into the losers’ bracket and will play host team Meadville/Vernon this evening at 6 p.m. Meadville/Vernon fell to MYAA, 16-6, in the nightcap of the first day of the tournament on Thursday.
DuBois used six pitchers on the night, and all but two of them will still be eligible to pitch today. Aiden Snowberger, Andrew Green, Tyler Chamberlin, Trey Wingard, Kaden Clark and Brock Smith all saw time on the mound.
Snowberger and Chamberlin both tossed 35 pitches and will need a day’s rest before getting on the mound again. The other four threw 20 pitches or less and can be used this evening.
“We really decided to work our pitching scheme different than a lot of guys would do,” said Wingard. “I think it actually worked out tonight, we just didn’t get the W. We didn’t hit enough tonight.”
Clarion used the long ball in the first inning. After a bouncer back to the pitcher for the first out of the game, Smail launched a double to left field before Smith blasted his first homer of the night over the center field fence, giving Clarion a 2-0 lead.
DuBois cut that lead in half in the bottom of the first. Snowberger started things off with a single to center field and moved to second base on a groundout. Brayden Fox then had a base hit that brought around Snowberger from second, while Fox went to second on the throw home.
But Clarion got out of the inning on the next batter as a groundout turned into a double play as Fox was nailed at third base trying to advance on the groundout.
After DuBois held Clarion off the board in the top of the second, they went back to work at the plate in the bottom of the second.
Wingard and Kaden Brezenski worked back-to-back walks to open the second before Wingard was out at third on a force play as Jordan Ell tried to sacrifice the runners over.
After a popout for the second out, Billy Gray was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Snowberger came up big with a two-run single into right field. After the throw to the plate, the Clarion catcher overthrew the ball to second to try to get Snowberger. Gray came home on the play as DuBois took a 4-2 lead.
Clarion added a run in the third, and the DuBois defense made a superb play to keep it at one run.
Smail singled, while Smith doubled to start the inning before Brayden Murray walked to load the bases.
Devon Lauer then singled into left field to score Smail, but Ell, the DuBois left fielder, fired a strike to home plate to get Smith to keep the lead for the moment.
Chamberlin then came on the mound and got the final two outs with a strikeout and a popout to get out of the jam.
Fox started off the bottom of the third with a single, but DuBois was then retired on the next eight batters up until the bottom of the sixth.
Lauer, the Clarion starting pitcher, allowed three earned runs on four hits, walked two and struck out four in 4 2/3 innings. He was taken out at the 50-pitch limit and will need two days rest. He will be eligible to come back for the tournament championship game on Saturday.
Smith tossed the last 1 1/3 innings to record the save.
With one out in the top of the fourth, Clarion’s Nick Aaron walked and Bryce Brinkley reached on an error. After a strikeout for the second out, Smith blasted his second homer of the game –a three-run shot to put Clarion back in front, 6-4.
DuBois got Clarion to strand the bases loaded in the fifth, but Clarion got one more run in the sixth off of Smail’s solo shot to lead off the inning to set the final.
Fox got a base hit to start off the bottom of the sixth and moved up to second on a wild pitch. After a pair of strikeouts from Smith, Brezenski singled to right field to put runners at the corners before a flyout ended the game.
DuBois’ losers’ bracket game with Meadville/Vernon will begin at 6 p.m. this evening. With a win, they would advance to the losers’ bracket final on Saturday, which starts at 2 p.m.