The evening did not start off well for Claysburg on Tuesday, but in the end, everything seemed to be going just fine as the hosts battled against North Division leader Patton, coming away with a
10-0 shutout in six innings in Cambria American Legion action.
“We came here there was a lot of rain and we had to do a lot to get this field ready and I was kind of worried,” Claysburg manager Dave Aungst said. “I had to change my lineup because I had three guys that weren’t here that I didn’t know weren’t coming until right before game time.”
Left-hander Trey Claar scattered just four Patton hits, striking out six and walking one.
“Trey threw a great game first of all,” Aungst said. “Every time he is on the mound, he gives us a chance to win the game. The bats came alive. We hit the ball well and made a lot of plays out there. That really opened things up for us.”
Claysburg (15-2) only had six hits, but those included a triple by Claar as well as doubles by Tyler Ickes and Jay Stern. Stern also scored twice and drove in two runs while Mike Runk scored twice. Throw in four Patton errors along with aggressive baserunning by Claysburg, including six stolen bases with two caught stealing, and the rout was on.
“I’ve never been accused of being conservative,” Aungst said. “We’re going to run. I tell guys when they come here that they are going to get more guys thrown out than you’ve ever seen in your life but if it ain’t nailed down, we’re going to steal it. It’s been that way for years and I like to be aggressive. We’ll get guys thrown out, but we’re going to make things happen. Sometimes it will bite us but that’s the way we like to play.”
Each team had runners on base in the first and baserunning mistakes kept the game scoreless.
In the third, Claysburg sent 10 runners to the plate on two hits, four walks a hit batsman and an error to put six runs on the board.
The hosts added a run in the fourth, one in the fifth and two in the sixth.
Conversely, Patton (15-3) had just two runners on base in the final three innings and no one advanced past first.
“In the long run, it might be something that we needed,” Patton manager Ray Eckenrode said. “We have not played a lot of competitive baseball in 17 games. I was really concerned how we were going to react to competitive baseball.
“We didn’t lose that game in the third, we lost it in the first
2 1⁄2. Five or six mental mistakes and you cannot do that against Claysburg. They did what they always do, which is to make you pay for it.
“Every at bat we can get against Trey Claar is going to help us. He might be the best pitcher in the league and he’s at least one of the two or three best. It’s good for us to get in a playoff state of mind to hit against him.”
Aungst said his team works to find a way to win.
“It wasn’t until the third inning where we were able to put some things together,” Aungst said. “One break or something goes the other way, it could be a different game. We have to take each game as it comes. Enjoy it tonight and put us behind us.”