STATE UNIVERSITY – Unfinished. A motto that has animated the Clearfield Lady Bison throughout the season. Some of the team themes of the past few weeks have unwittingly become queens of comeback and exit winners. By any monitor, the bottom line is that the Clearfield Lady Bison are the PIAA state champions in the AAAA class following their 3-2 victory over the Tunkhannock Lady Tigers on Friday afternoon.
For anyone who has followed their journey to the state title game, the Lady Bison have been in many times, but they have never been out of a baseball game. Solid throwing, clean defense and timely hitting were the magic formula that guided this team to the first state title in a team sport in Clearfield School District history.
Similar to the Franklin and Beaver games, Clearfield was down in the state title game. Tunkhannock came on to play in his own right and started the scoring early in the second inning. A Hipps pitch hit Gabby Wood to start the inning, and the Lady Tigers made Hipps pay for one of the few mistakes she made throughout the postseason. A brace with a Sydney Huff out put the visitors on the scoreboard ahead 1-0.
That was it for now, but Tunkhannock added his second run in the top of the fourth inning. Emily Schultz reached an error from Alexis Bumbarger to start the round, but it was Bumbarger who would have the last laugh in this one. Still, at this point, Tunkhannock had all the momentum on his side. The mistake was costly as Schultz scored on the play to give the Lady Tigers a 2-0 lead. However, this momentum did not last much longer.
Trailing 2-0 late in the fifth inning, a two-run blast off the right field wall tied the score at 2-2. The outburst came courtesy of Lauren Ressler who was huge all season long with no moment bigger than her two-run shot and fourth homer of the season which scored Ruby Singleton who had made a single on the previous at bat.
Now it was time for Clearfield to turn to Emma Hipps in the circle again. As usual, this was no problem for the Clarion University commit. Hipps recorded strikeouts for four of the last six strikeouts, helping him take his total to 10 for the game and his total for the season to 285. Keeping the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh, it was a familiar place this team has been over the past few weeks of this campaign.
Once again, this team proved that the moment wasn’t too big for any of them. Early in the inning, Ruby Singleton hit her second hit of the game. After a pop-out, Olivia Bender scored a brace to right center to put two in scoring position with just one out. This brought in Alaina Fedder, who was intentionally walked to load bases and put forces at any base.
This spawned Alexis Bumbarger, who wasted no time as she swung for the first time. The result was a lofted pop-up in the shallow left center field over the shortstop’s head and out of left fielder’s reach. After making sure she was going to land, Singleton scored her second run of the match, this one, the state title as Lady Bison took it with a 3-2 win.
The Lady Bison beat Tunkhannock nine to three in the match, with Singelton, Bender and Alexis Cole each winning two afternoons. Fedder, Ressler and Bumbarger each had one hit, none bigger than the bloop hit that made it the second win of the day for a Clearfield County team as Catholic baseball team DuBois Central took the title State Class A in convincing fashion, 12-2.
Today is truly a special day to be a Lady Bison and a fan of local team sports. This program made history as the first to win a state team title in Clearfield Area School District history. It is definitely something these girls, their coaches and the community will always remember. As it should be, they returned home escorted by fire engines to celebrate this incredible moment for the community. The 2022 softball season is over and the Clearfield Lady Bison were one of six PIAA softball teams still standing at the end.
TOUNKHANNOCK – 2
Paige Marabell (C) 3000, Ella McNeff (2B) 3010, Emily Schultz (SS) 3100, Gabby Wood (1B) 2000, Kaya Hannon (P) 3110, Sydney Huff (3B) 3011, Erin Van Ness (LF) 3000, Emily Patton (DP) 2000, Hannah James (C) 2000, Elaina Kulsicavage (RF) 0000. TOTALS 24 2 3 1.
2B: Sidney Huff
VG: Ella McNeff, Kaya Hannon, Sydney Huff 2
RBI: Sidney Huff
DEER: Emilie Schultz
PCR: Gaby Bois
SB: Ella McNeff, Gabby Wood
E : Sidney Huff
FREE FIELD – 3
Emma Hipps (P) 3000, Ruby Singleton (CF) 4220, Lauren Ressler (1B) 3112, Olivia Bender (C) 4020, Alaina Fedder (SS) 3010, Alexis Bumbarger (3B) 4011, Kylee Hertlein (2B) 3000, Alexis Benton (RF) 2000, Alexis Cole (LF) 3020, Anna Twigg (LF) 0000, Paige Houser (CR) 0000. TOTALS 29 3 9 3.
2B: Olivia Bender
HOUR: Lauren Ressler
VG: Olivia Bender 3, Alexis Bumbarger, Alexis Cole 2, Alaina Fedder, Lauren Ressler 4, Ruby Singleton 2
RBI: Alexis Bumbarger, Lauren Ressler 2
DEER: Olivia Bender
E : Alexis Boumbarger
Score per round
Tunkhannock 0 1 0 1 0 0 0.
Bright field 0 0 0 0 2 0 1.
Emma Hipps 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K.
Kaya Hannon 6.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HR.
W- Emma Hipps (21-2). L- Kaya Hannon (19-5).