DuBois Central Catholic Cardinals baseball reached the PIAA Class A tournament finals again this year.
The Clarion Area Bobcats defeated the Cardinals 4-1 in the all-District 9 final at Penn State University’s Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Thursday.
“Every game is inches,” DCC head coach Adam Fox said. This was one of the event’s best high school games. Two well-coached teams get the details right. The best team won. We blew it.”
Cardinals outhit Bobcats 9-6 but stranded nine baserunners to four and hit into two double plays.
Fox said Clarion deserves it. Coaches Lee Weber and Rob Jewett are terrific men. Those kids have great community support. In a game like this, you toss it out and let the youngsters decide.
“I wasn’t playing one run. Planned a big inning. We lacked. This game often comes down to one run or a big inning. Missed opportunities.”
In the rubber match between the two D-9 schools this year, the Bobcats, who had outscored their opponents 28-0 in their three state playoff games, seized the lead in the bottom of the first on a Derek Smail groundout to third that scored Dawson Smail.
One inning later, Tanner Miller and Matt Alston doubled, pushing Miller to third, and Daunte Girvan hit a sac fly to right field to put the Bobcats up 2-0.
Clarion’s Devon Lauer pitched four innings Thursday
Fox continued, “Our guys showed up”. They failed. Clarion and Devon Lauer on the mound are fine. Good pitches. He worked like he has all postseason.”
Cardinals starter Brayden Fox allowed no hits or Bobcat baserunners in the third and fourth innings after surrendering two runs in the first two.
Coach Fox stated Brayden threw with guts and Trenton Miller behind the plate was terrific.
Cardinals blew a fourth-inning opportunity. Carter Hickman and senior Kaden Brezenski started the fourth with singles to left. Carter Himes’ right-field single loaded the bases after Blake Pisarcik’s fielder’s choice got Hickman out at third.
Lauer struck out DCC senior Cartar Kosko at 3-0. Lauer struck out Andrew Green to end the inning.
Derek Smail succeeded Lauer. Aiden Snowberger bunted for an infield single with one out in the fifth with the game 2-0.
Fox scored DCC and tripled right-center. Coach Fox waved on Snowberger for an RBI triple as the Cardinals trailed 2-1 with the tying run at third.
After Hickman was walked and went to second, Derek Smail struck out Pisarcik and flew Brezenski to first to end the inning for the Bobcats.
Derek Smail allowed two singles in the last two innings, keeping the Cardinals out of scoring position.
Small-ball plays provided the Bobcats two fifth-inning insurance runs. Girvan walked to start the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Hayden Weber batted. After Weber’s left-field single scored Girvan, Clarion led 3-1.
Wyatt Watterson ran for Dawson Smail. Clarion led 4-1 after Dawson Smail doubled to center and Watterson stole second.
DCC’s sixth-inning rally began with Himes’ second single. Clarion’s second double play occurred after Kosko popped up to short and Himes missed the bag. Derek Smail struck out Green to end the inning.
Himes struck out Lauer and got Tanner Miller to fly out to center in the sixth before coach Fox substituted senior Ben Gritzer at catcher and sophomore Johnny Varischetti in left field. DCC’s final batter, Himes, struck out Girvan looking.
Coach Fox praised Bray’s Carter Himes’ finishing.
Derek Smail confused DCC hitters as Matt Pyne and Snowberger flew out to center and left. Fox’s two-out center single prolonged play. Hickman then hit a hard grounder to Noah Harrison at third, who bobbled it but got Hickman out to win Clarion its first state baseball title, 4-1.
Coach Fox said, “We stayed in the fight all game—we were in the fight until the last out.I know how much pressure you feel when you’re ahead by three runs and have three of the district’s greatest hitters to get out. Derek Smail led today. Derek pitched well for them. He posed.”
Fox’s triple was the Cardinals’ only extra-base hit in Thursday’s PIAA Class A championship.
DuBois Central Catholic went 20-6 after losing its first PIAA final. Cardinals won 2001 and last season. 21-4 Clarion.
“All roads go through Clarion now,” coach Fox said. Congratulations, guys. Fans, congratulations Clarion. Great support. As an outsider and opponent, everything was fantastic.
DuBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC 1
Score by Innings
DCC 000 010 0 — 1
Clarion 110 020 x — 4
DuBois Central Catholic—1
Aiden Snowberger rf 3110, Brayden Fox p-1b 4021, Carter Hickman dh 3020, Kaden Brezenski ss 3010, Blake Pisarcik 3b 3000, Carter Himes 2b-p 3020, Cartar Kosko lf 3000, Johnny Varischetti lf 0000, Andrew Green 1b-2b 3000, Matt Pyne cf 3010, Trenton Miller c 0000, Ben Gritzer c 0000. Totals: 28-1-9-1.
Dawson Smail ss 3121, Bryce Brinkley cf 1000, Noah Harrison 2b-3b 2000, Derek Smail 1b-p 3001, Devon Lauer p-2b 3000, Tanner Miller lf 3110, Matt Alston 3b-1b 3020, Daunte Girvan dh 1101, Hayden Weber c 2011, Wyatt Watterson cr 0100, Gary Matus rf 0000. Totals: 21-4-6-4.
Errors: DCC 0, Clarion 0. LOB: DCC 9, Clarion 4. DP: DCC 0, Clarion 2. 3B: Fox. SAC: Harrison, Brinkley. SF: Girvan. SB: Pyne; Watterson.
DuBois Central Catholic: Brayden Fox-5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO; Carter Himes-1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO.
Clarion: Devon Lauer-4 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO; Derek Smail-3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO.