CLAYSBURG - If you like pitching and great defense, then Monday's matchup between Bishop Guilfoyle and Claysburg-Kimmel's was a game for you.
BG starting pitcher Jextin Pugh and Claysburg-Kimmel's Trey Claar combined for 22 strikeouts, walked just one and allowed just eight hits. The defenses made one fine play after another, with neither team committing an error.
It was truly a shame that there had to be a loser.
The Bulldogs came out on the winning side, edging Bishop Guilfoyle, 1-0, in the second round of the District 6 Class A playoffs at Claysburg-Kimmel High School.
"It was definitely a nailbiter," Claysburg-Kimmel coach Justin Harris said. "We knew coming in it was going to be probably a one or two run game. These are two of the best pitchers in the area."
"It was a tremendous high school baseball game," Bishop Guilfoyle coach Bill Wolf said. "That's all I can say."
Claar is a lefty, but is not your prototypical, soft-tossing pitcher. He allowed a lead off single by T. J. Krol to begin the game, but struck out two of the next three and induce a ground out by Justin Wilson to get out of the first. In the bottom-half of the first, the 6-3, 220 lb senior Pugh hit the first batter he would face, in Claar, but retire the next two hitters. Pugh issued a two-out walk to Devin Weyandt but fanned Doug Knisely, one of his eight Ks, to end the inning.
Both pitchers would coast through the second inning, with Claar striking out the side and Pugh retiring the Bulldogs three-up, three-down. The Marauders appeared to be in business, getting a leadoff double by number nine hitter Derek Cursio, but those hopes were dashed once again by Claar. Claar got Krol to fly out, and followed that with Ks of both Pugh and Patrick Irwin to escape the jam. He would finish the game with 14 strikeouts.
Pugh and Claar continued to excel, throwing one zero after another onto the scoreboard. Pugh retired the side three-up, three-down in the bottom of third, with Claar matching that in the top of the fourth,, except he would strike out two of them. Pugh would allow a one-out single in the bottom of that inning to Weyandt, but ensued to cuff the next two to avoid any damage being done. In the top of the fifth, Nate Nardelli hit a one-out single but Claar was able to fan Cursio and then induce a groundout to third. Pugh had a quick 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth.
Claar was very efficient in the top of the sixth inning while getting Pugh to fly out, and strikeout the following two. The bottom of the inning could not have started off any worse than it did for the Marauders, allowing a leadoff triple to Claar. After a strikeout for Pugh, Weyandt hit a run-scoring single. Pugh would fan the next two, but the damage was done. The Marauders had a promising start to the top of the seventh inning, with a leadoff single by Mike Pleva and an ensuing sacrifice bunt by Stewart, but Claar cuffed the last two batters to end the game.
"I told my team before the game that if we make all the plays we'll only have to get a clutch hit or two to win the game," Harris said. "And sure enough, Trey got the big hit."
It was all about missed opportunities for the Marauders, leaving five runners on base, failing to get the big hit.
"We had opportunities to score, but we couldn't get it done," Wolf said. "That's been the story of our season though."
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (0): Krol cf 301, Pugh p 300, Irwin ss 300, Wolfe 3b 300, Pleva c 301, Young pr 000, Stewart 1b 201, Litzinger 2b 200, Sweeney ph 100, Nardelli lf 201, Cursio rf 201. Totals 24 0 5.
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL (1): Claar p 211, Cox ss 300, Strayer 3b 301, Weyandt cf 201, Knisely 1b 300, Helsel c 200, Fickes lf 200, Musselman 2b 200, Repko rf 200. Totals 21 1 3.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Bishop Guilfoyle0000000 0 5 0
Claysburg-Kimmel000001x 1 3 0
2b Cursio. 3b Claar. Sb Krol. Sac bunt Stewart. RBI Strayer. Hbp Claar by Pugh. WP Claar. LP Pugh. SO Pugh 8, Claar 14. BB Pugh 1.