MEADVILLE — The DuBois 11-year-old all-star team has made a living off of scoring their runs in bunches during the Section 1 Tournament.
It happened once again on Sunday afternoon in the tournament championship game in a rematch against Clarion.
Down 8-0 going into the bottom of the sixth, DuBois rallied for six runs on five hits. The rally ended on a tough double play off of a fly ball to left field that resulted in a rundown between third base and home plate, ending DuBois’ season with an 8-6 loss that sent Clarion to the state tournament.
Prior to the sixth inning, DuBois had only collected three hits. Clarion starting pitcher Tommy Smith was perfect through three innings with nine up, nine down to start the game.
“I was saying to one of the coaches, ‘Has a team ever won a baseball game with three hits and no runs?,’, and then bam, there we are,” said DuBois manager T.J. Wingard. “That was pretty crazy.
“Our kids will scrap and they’ll fight. We just started a little late today. Just a couple plays in the game, and with pitching like that, that’s what it came down to. We were close, but not there yet.”
The DuBois rally got started in the bottom of the sixth as Carson Corle was hit by a pitch, and Billy Gray coming in to be his special pinch-runner. Aiden Snowberger then hit a long single off the fence before Tyler Chamberlin doubled to bring home Gray to put DuBois on the board.
After a walk to Brayden Fox, Kaden Clark singled to bring home Snowberger and kept the bases loaded with no outs.
Trey Wingard followed with a base hit of his own to score Chamberlin, cutting the deficit to 8-3 with still no outs.
The Wingard single ended Smith’s day on the mound as Clarion went to Brayden Murray in relief.
Kaden Brezenski greeted Murray with a two-run single to bring home Leyton Hodge and Clark to make the score 8-5. Hodge was running for Fox after he reached base.
Murray then finally got the first out on a pop-up in the infield before allowing a walk to Andrew Green to load the bases again.
Gray then also drew a walk, which scored Wingard to move it to 8-6 with one out, the tying run at second and the winning run at first base.
That walk ended Murray’s outing as Clarion went to Devon Lauer, who only ended up needing to pitch to one batter.
Snowberger lifted a fly ball to left field for the second out. The Clarion left fielder fired the ball to third base as the runner on third for DuBois drifted off the base to try to draw a throw to home plate. He was caught in a rundown, and the Clarion third baseman fired home for the third out of the game and the Sction 1 title.
Snowberger, the starting pitcher for DuBois, fared well on the mound as he got four innings of work. He allowed three earned runs on four hits, walked four and struck out seven.
Clarion picked up its first two runs quick in the top of the first as Bryce Brinkley singled to open the game, while Dawson Smail drew a walk. After a strikeout, Lauer tripled down the right field line to bring home both runners.
Snowberger stranded two runners in the second and one more in the third before Clarion got more action going in the fourth inning.
With one out, Logan Lutz singled and Tanner Miller walked. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch before Brinkley reached on an error, allowing Lutz to score on the play.
Snowberger got out of the inning with a strikeout and a lineout to Brezenski at shortstop with no further damage done.
After not getting a baserunner in the first three innings, Snowberger got his team its first baserunner with a double into right-center field. He was later erased off the basepaths after he was caught trying to steal third base.
Chamberlin also got a single in the inning, but could not advance.
Clarion tacked on two more runs in the top of the fifth off DuBois relief pitcher Brock Smith.
Murray and Jase Ferguson singled to open the frame, while Nick Aaron tripled them both home with no outs. Still, Aaron could not score from third as Smith got a strikeout, a lineout, and a pop-up back to him to limit the damage.
Wingard had a leadoff base hit in the bottom of the fifth, but that’s all DuBois could gather in the inning.
With two runners at second and third in the top of the sixth, Murray hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Smith, who reached on a single.
Ferguson then smashed a two-run homer to end the scoring for Clarion before the bottom of the sixth.
The season has now ended for DuBois after a District 10 championship and a spot in the Section 1 championship game.
“This is two years in a row I’ve had the privilege to work with these coaches and kids. We’ve enjoyed every moment of it,” said Wingard. “I hope the kids have too. We had a pretty supportive family atmosphere with everybody involved. It’s really fun.”
Clarion will now advance to the state tournament held at Lehigh Little League in Bethlehem, which starts on Friday. Clarion will play the Section 6 champions on Friday morning at 10:30 a.m to open the tournament.