Although it wasn't perfect, Claysburg-Kimmel High School's first appearance in the Curve Baseball Classic was one to remember.
The Bulldogs opened the 2013 Classic by rallying past Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic, 3-2, Friday morning at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
This is the 11th spring for the high school tournament at the Lakemont ballpark, and this is the first time Claysburg-Kimmel has participated.
"This is a great atmosphere, and is good for the kids," C-K coach Justin Harris said. "We had a big turnout for a 10 o'clock game and we're real excited to be here. I think we played well considering we've only been outside three times."
"It was awesome," winning pitcher Trey Claar said. "Just coming in here was an adrenalin rush."
Because of inclement weather, neither team had much preparation before Friday. Claysburg-Kimmel had a 4-2 comeback win over Mount Union, plus one day of practice outdoors, while BG had only one day of workouts outside before playing its first game yesterday.
Not surprisingly, neither team did much offensively. Both garnered only three hits and each squandered scoring opportunities.
The pitchers, lefty Claar of C-K and BG righthander Jextin Pugh, weren't sharp, but were able to keep the scoring down with strikeouts. Both fanned 10 batters. Pugh walked 10 and also hit a batter while Claar walked five.
Claar went the distance and gained the win because he was effective over the last three and two-thirds innings, retiring 10 straight batters at one point.
"Claar mixed his speeds and kept them off balance," Harris said. "He's the best we've got."
Pugh's wildness eventually did him in. After walking the bases full in the bottom of the fifth, Pugh struck out the next two batters. However, Nathan Musselman punched a single to right field to score Cameron Strayer and Devin Weyandt, tying the game at 2-all.
The Bulldogs pushed over the game-winner in the sixth off BG reliever Matt Stewart. Claar was hit by pitch to open the inning and promptly stole second. With one out, Strayer ripped a single to left and Claar hustled home with the deciding run.
Claar had some anxious moments in the top of the seventh. After striking out the first two, Claar gave up a base hit to T.J. Krol. C-K coach Harris then ordered an intentional walk to Pugh, one of the area's premier high school hitters, putting Krol, the potential tying run at second, and Pugh, the potential go-ahead runner, at first. However, Justin Wolfe flied to left field to end the game.
"It was not a question at all," Harris said of his decision to walk Pugh. "I said if he came up we were going to walk him. You hate to put the tying run at second base, but we know what kind of hitter he is so there was no doubt we were going to walk him."
Claar had no problem with his coach's decision.
"I knew we were going to put [Pugh] on," Claar said. "We know he's that good of a hitter."
BG coach Bill Wolf was disappointed but knows there's a lot of season left.
"It's tough," he said. "We haven't had much practice time, but we'll be fine. Their guy [Claar] was a little sharper than Jextin [Pugh]. You can only put so many guys on before it bites you. We had some chances, but I saw some good things, and we've got 19 more games to play."
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (2): Irwin 2b 400, Krol cf 411, Pugh p-1b 301, Kitt cr 000, Wolfe 3b 300, Pleva c 300, Stewart 1b-p 100, Sweeney ph 100, Nardelli ss 210, Adams rf 200, Cursio rf 301. Totals - 26-2-3.
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL (3): Claar p 211, Cox ss 400, Strayer 3b 111, Weyandt cf 210, Knisely 1b 300, Helsel c 200, Fickes lf 200, Musselman 2b 101, Mock pr 000, Repko rf 300. Totals -20-3-3.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Bishop Guilfoyle001 100 0-2 3 2
Claysburg-Kimmel000 021 X-3 3 2
E-Pugh, Cursio, Strayer, Knisely. 3B-Pugh, Claar. RBI-Pugh, Cursio, Strayer, Musselman 2. WP-Claar. LP-Stewart. SO-Pugh 10, Claar 10. BB-Pugh 10, Claar 5.
Umpires-Joe Bidoli Jr. (plate), Dave Adams (bases).
Records: Claysburg-Kimmel (2-0); Bishop Guilfoyle (0-1).