BELLWOOD - Most of Thursday's Inter-County Conference high school baseball game between Claysburg-Kimmel and Bellwood-Antis resembled a slow-pitch softball game.
The teams combined for three three-run homers, 27 hits and 23 runs, but with the game on the line, it was a pitching masterpiece from Claysburg's Tyler Ickes that earned the Bulldogs a 12-11 triumph.
Ickes relieved Zach Cox with Bellwood-Antis ahead, 9-7, in the fifth inning. He took awhile to get warmed up, allowing two more Blue Devils runs, before taking over in the final two innings. Ickes struck out five of the last seven batters he faced, including the top three in B-A's lineup to end the game with the tying run on first.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
C-K’s Tyler Ickes (left) fist-bumps Trey Claar.
"Tyler pitched really well and mixed his speeds," Claysburg-Kimmel manager Justin Harris said. "He came in and shut them down. He basically saved the game for us. This was a huge win for us."
Ickes wasn't the Bulldogs' only hero.
Bellwood-Antis held leads of 6-0 and 9-4 before Claysburg catcher Zach Helsel connected on a three-run homer to center field in the top of the fifth inning to pull C-K within two.
In the top of the sixth, Helsel capped the Bulldogs' five-run inning with the go-ahead single that scored Devin Weyandt for the winning run.
"We knew that we had to come back and win this game," Helsel said. "We don't stop fighting, and we play as a team. Our team kind of got up after the home run, and we kept pushing and got it done."
The victory improved the Bulldogs' record to 12-4. One of those losses was to Bellwood earlier in the year when Claysburg allowed five runs in the sixth inning and lost, 5-4.
"We're starting to peak, which is good this time of the year," Harris said. "We have two games next week before playoffs, and I'd think we'll be a top-five seed. To battle back and win against a good team like that shows we're ready for playoffs."
Claysburg's comeback overshadowed several impressive offensive performances by the Blue Devils, who dropped to 10-5.
Danny Beech went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer, RBI double and RBI single to finish with five runs batted in. Bryan Lynn hit a three-run homer during Bellwood's five-run first inning, and Haden DeGennaro doubled twice, walked and scored a pair of runs.
"We've been hitting the ball extremely well all year," Bellwood-Antis manager Steve Conlon said. "From top to bottom, everyone seems to be hitting the ball, but the pitching just wasn't there today."
Bellwood-Antis starting pitcher Chad Luensmann, a freshman, seemed to be in line for a win with a 9-3 lead in the fifth inning.
"I think he got a little tired, and he tried to get a little too perfect with some pitches," Conlon said. "He had 0-2 counts, and instead of making a good pitch outside of the zone, he came right down the middle. You have to give them credit, though. They hit his mistakes."
Casey Gray relieved Luensmann with runners on second and third and the Blue Devils ahead, 11-7, in the sixth. Jared Ickes greeted him with a two-run double, and Doug Knisely walked before Weyandt tied the game with another two-run double. Knisely finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Tyler Ickes made sure the lead held up.
"To be under that much pressure and come through like that, it was a great job by Tyler," Helsel said. "We're going to be a tough competitor in the playoffs."
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL (12): Claar 1b 411, J. Ickes lf 521, T. Ickes 2b-ss-p 422, Strayer p 100, Miller 2b 110, Knisely 3b 322, Weyandt cf 411, Helsel c 412, Repko rf 401, Cox ss-p-ss 422. Totals - 34-12-12.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (11): DeGennaro cf 422, Luensmann p-1b 401, Mock cr 010, Snyder ss 111, Gray p-ss 221, Beech dh-p 423, Creppage c 000, Wertman 1b 312, Stuby ss 000, Wyland c 000, Lynn rf 412, Stapleton lf 401, Dionis 3b 400, McNelis 2b 412. Totals -34-11-15.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Claysburg-Kimmel003 045 0-12 12 1
Bellwood-Antis510 320 0-11 15 2
E-Helsel, Dionis, Creppage. 2B-Claar, J. Ickes, Weyandt, DeGennaro 2, Lynn, Beech. HR - Helsel, Lynn, Beech. RBI-Helsel 4, Knisely 3, J. Ickes 2, Weyandt 2, T. Ickes, Beech 5, Lynn 3, Luensmann, Gray, Wertman. WP-J. Ickes. LP-Gray. SO-Strayer 1, Cox 1, J. Ickes 7, Luensmann 3, Gray 1, Beech 1. BB-Strayer 1, Cox 2, J. Ickes 1, Luensmann 1, Gray 1, Beech 1.
Umpires: Dave Gildea (home), Gene Talko (bases).
Records: Claysburg-Kimmel (12-4); Bellwood-Antis (10-5).