HARBORCREEK — It wasn’t easy, but the DuBois Little League All-Star baseball team finished off a perfect 3-0 stay in Harborcreek Tuesday night by outslugging FLAG, 13-7, in the Section 1 championship game.
Heavy rains plagued the tournament most of the weekend, with a large portion of the event finally held on Sunday with all four teams playing twice.
DuBois captured two lopsided wins that day, beating Oil City, 10-0, in it first game, then FLAG, 17-6, to reach the section title game as the undefeated team. FLAG made it back to the finals with a 7-4 victory against Mid-East/Cochranton on Monday.
Tuesday’s rematch between FLAG and DuBois was a completely different game compared to Sunday in what was a matchup between former Little League teammates.
DuBois manager Tim Kail and FLAG manager Ryan Smith, a Falls Creek native and Brockway graduate, were teammates at one point on the old Riverside team in the DuBois Little League and also were teammates on a DuBois Junior League All-Star team.
Both had their teams ready to go, particularly their hitters in what proved to be a slugfest.
DuBois jumped out to a 5-2 lead after two innings only to see FLAG counter with five runs of its own between the top of the third and fourth innings to take a 7-5 advantage.
The game turned in DuBois’ favor for good in the bottom of the fourth as the District 10 champs scored four runs on three hits and an error to grab the 9-7 lead.
Wes Clyde did the rest from there as he tossed two scoreless innings to earn the save in relief of winner Isaac Dennison, who threw the first four innings. Dennison allowed all seven FLAG runs, only three of which were earned, on seven hits while striking out five and walking a pair.
Clyde gave up just one hit while walking three and striking out three in his two innings of work. In between his two scoreless innings, DuBois score four more runs in the bottom of the fifth — an inning that featured a long three-run home run by Adam Drahushak — to give Clyde some extra breathing room.
With the win, DuBois advances to the Pennsylvania State Tournament, which is set to begin Saturday in Conyngham, which is in Luzerne County.
“We’ve been together since T-BALL, and every year we’ve worked together with tournament teams and otherwise, and all the kids have stayed together,” said DuBois manager Tim Kail of reaching states. “They want this. We just have to keep them up, which is hard to do sometimes.
“The one thing here was FLAG has a team that can hit. They have no problem hitting the ball. We started out a little slow also, but we came back when we needed it. I think the kids got a little nervous too, but it’s been hard too.
“We’ve been up here since Thursday and had a lot of time sitting and waiting with all the rain. For what they had to deal with, I think the field turned out great. It’s been the same guys working on the field here every night. I know they don’t get appreciated, and they should.”
As for battling against Smith as coaches, Kail said it was a nice experience.
“We played on the same league team Riverside when we were younger, then got on the All-Stars together that year,” said Kail. “I haven’t seen him for years, so it was nice to see him and to compete against him while coaching our sons now.”
FLAG came out swinging against Dennison, with Cam Tennant hitting a leadoff single and Cam Aresco following with a double. Tennent then scored on a Brayden Hennessy groundout before Dennison got out of the inning by fielding a pair of comebackers. Aresco finished 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles.
DuBois answered right back in the bottom of the first, pushing across three runs on three hits and a pair of FLAG errors.
Clyde got things started with a leadoff single and reached second safely on a high throw on a grounder to short by Dennison. Tennant then got two quick outs on fielder’s choices, with Drahushak plating Clyde with a groundout to tie the game.
Bryson Kail kept the inning going with an infield single before Hunter Ho smacked a single down the right-field line that scored both Drahushak and Kail to make it 3-1.
FLAG got a run back in the second when Ronan McCann reached on an error and later scored on another DuBois miscue, then watched DuBois score twice in the bottom half to push it lead to 5-2.
The inning started innocently enough with a walk and fielder’s choice, but a double by Clyde promptly chased home Lance Davidson. Clyde, who hit a grand slam in the first game vs. FLAG, went 2-for-3 with the double, RBI and three runs scored Tuesday on top of his save.
Clyde later sprinted home from third when FLAG’s catcher tried to make a fake throw to third but had the ball squirt out of his hand out into the infield.
Trailing by three, FLAG didn’t go away quietly and scored twice in the third and three more times in the fourth to grab a 7-5 advantage.
Ryan St. Julien had a RBI single in the third, while McCann ripped a RBI double for the other run in the frame. The big blow in the fourth was a two-run single by Hennessy.
DuBois didn’t blink in losing the lead in the fourth and responded with four runs in the bottom half to go back on top.
Clyde led off with a walk, while Dennison was hit by a pitch. Wilmoth then reached on an error that allowed Clyde to score. After a strikeout, Kail singled home Dennison to knot things at 7-7.
DuBois was far from done in the inning though.
Brody Knouse kept things going with a single to center before Jackson McCall drew a bases-loaded walk to force home Wilmoth. A Brycen Buzard single that plated Kail to make it 9-7 before FLAG got out of the jam with a double play.
FLAG tried to counter in the top of the fifth against Clyde, loading the bases with two outs on a pair of walks and a single. However, Clyde got a huge out when he struck out Aresco looking to leave the bases full.
DuBois carried that momentum into the bottom of the fifth and plated four runs, this time against reliever Eyan Woods.
FLAG center fielder Caden Oldach robbed Clyde of a hit to open the inning when he made a shoestring catch running in towards the infield in center.
However, Dennison followed with a walk, while Wilmoth reached on another error before Drahushak re-entered the game to hit and promptly hit a three-run bomb to right.
DuBois scored its 13th and final run with a little two-out magic in the frame when Knouse hit a triple that got over the right fielder as he tried to make the catch, then scored on an error. Knouse and Kail each two hits in the game for DuBois.
Clyde got two quick outs to start the sixth but walked Oldbach. However, Clyde didn’t have to face another batter as DuBois picked off Oldbach at first and eventually tagged him out to end a rundown and the game.
Score by Innings
FLAG 112 300 — 7
DuBois 320 44x — 13
Cam Tennant p-3b 4120, Cam Aresco ss 4230, Brayden Hennessy 2b 4113, Ryan St. Julian 3b-1b 4111, Gaven Chaffee 1b 1000, Caden Oldbach cf 2000, Ronan McCann rf-lf-rf 3111, Eyan Woods cf-1b-p 2000, Jacob Owens lf 0000, Chase Fairfield rf 1000, Liam Dunfee c 1100. Totals: 26-7-8-5.
Wes Clyde 2b-p 3321, Isaac Dennison p-3b 2210, Seth Wilmoth ss 4200, Adam Drahushak lf 3214, Easton Harris spr-lf 1000, Bryson Kail cf 4221, Hunter Ho 1b 1012, Brody Knouse ph-1b 3120, Jackson McCall 3b-c 1001, Ryan Woodel ph-spr 2010, Brycen Buzard c-2b 1011, Jack Statler ph 1010, Lance Davidson rf 4100. Totals: 29-13-12-9.
Errors: FLAG 6, DuBois 4. LOB: FLAG 7, DuBois 7. DP: FLAG 1, DuBois 1. 2B: Aresco 2, McCann; Clyde. 3B: Knouse. HR: Drahushak. SAC: Woods. HBP: Dennison (by Tennant).
FLAG: Cam Tennant-4 IP, 9 H, 9 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO, 1 HB; Eyan Woods-1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO.
DuBois: Isaac Dennison-4 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO; Wes Clyde-2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 SO.
Winning pitcher: Dennison. Losing pitcher: Tennant. Save: Clyde.