Top of Clarion Lineup Scores 10 Times in Five-Inning Win Over C-L

SHIPPENVILLE, Pa. (D9Sports) – Clarion-Limestone didn’t have an answer Wednesday for Clarion’s Spencer Miller, Cam Craig and Sterling Conner.

(Photo: Ben Smith of C-L rounds first on his RBI double in the fourth inning. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa’s work here)

The top three of the Bobcats lineup combined to go 7-for-9 with 10 runs scored and two RBIs in a 12-1, five-inning win over the visiting Lions at the Clarion County Park.

“The top of their order really hit the ball,” first-year Clarion-Limestone manager Todd Smith said. “I thought that is where it got away from us. Every time they were up, they made us pay. They outhit us.”

Miller, Craig and Conner – the only three seniors on the team – were honored after the game on Senior Day and made the most of their special day starting right from the get-go in the bottom of the first inning.

Miller led off with a single to left followed by another base hit through the hole between shortstop and third base by Craig. Conner then drove in Miller with a third straight single for Clarion to left.

An error on a pickoff attempt at first moved Craig to third with Conner stealing second a pitch later, and Craig scored on a groundout by Skylar Rhoades with Conner going to third, which turned out to be important when he scored on a wild pitch from Christian Smith.

“It was extremely important to get those runs early,” Craig, who started and picked up the win going three scoreless innings, said. “As a pitcher, it’s good to know your offense and your defense has your back. It helps calm yourself down as a pitcher.”

The top three were back at it in the bottom of the second again producing three straight hits to left – this time all doubles – as Clarion struck for five runs after two were out, including a two-run double to deep left by Drew Whren that chased Smith from the mound.

“After yesterday (when Clarion won 1-0 over Redbank Valley), we wanted to be more patient at the plate, look at good pitches and square them up,” Miller said.

Todd Smith wasn’t displeased with the performance of his youngest son, Christian, giving the senior lefty kudos for even giving it a go on the mound with an arm that isn’t 100 percent.

“He is not 100 percent with his arm,” Todd Smith said. “So, I’m not sure how much he is going to be able to pitch this year for us. I thought our pitchers hung in there.”

Ian Hawthorn relieved Smith, and after walking the first two batters he faced, including Noah DiTullio with the bases loaded that pushed Clarion’s lead to 8-0, did a solid job allowing four runs on two hits, seven walks and a hit batter the rest of the game to save the Lions’ pitching staff heading into Thursday’s game at Brookville.

“He has pitched a couple of games for us this year,” Todd Smith said. “He knew he was coming in today. We don’t really have many guys on our team who can pitch a full game. We have to pitch by committee. I thought he came in and for the most part did a nice job for us.”

Clarion did take advantage of Hawthorn’s wildness to score the four runs against him including an RBI base hit by Rhoades, a bases-loaded walk to Wren and a sac fly from Nick Frederick in the third and another bases-loaded walk, this time to Lake Staub, in the fourth when Clarion scored thanks to three walks and a hit batter.

“We haven’t had the offense (going) very much this year, so that was a good feeling,” Conner said.

C-L’s lone run came in the fourth off Miller when he hit Cole Grenci with a pitch with two outs – in a bit of a light moment Grenci was called out on strike two by the home plate umpire just prior to getting hit with the pitch before the man in blue realized it was only the second strike – and Ben Smith doubled him home.

The Lions, though, mustered just three hits on the day off Craig, Miller and Calvin German.

“We are going to hit,” Todd Smith said. “We have a pretty decent hitting team. Tonight, even when we got some changes to open some things up, it was right at them. We hit it off their pitcher, or they make a diving play. They made the plays tonight. Kudos to them.”

Perhaps the best defensive effort came from Rhoades with one out in the third and the bases loaded for the Lions.

Curvin Goheen hit a sinking liner to center that Rhoades made a diving headfirst catch on. He then alterly doubled courtesy runner Travis Preston off second base to end the inning. That inning also saw right fielder Cutter Boggess throw out a Lions runner at second base for a force out on an unusual 9-6 put out.

“We have a young team,” Miller said. “We have a lot of inexperience. It hurt to lose those seniors we lost from last year, but we have a lot of potential in the young guys. As the season goes on, I think we will be able to be a good contender in the playoffs.”

Clarion is now 6-5 on the season with C-L falling to 4-2. Clarion is back in action Monday at Brockway with C-L returning to the field, weather permitting, Thursday at Brookville on a game that will be broadcast on exploreRadio via, and


Score by Innings

C-L 000 10 – 1
Clarion 353 1x – 12



Ian Hawthorn 2b/p 2000, Curvin Goheen 1b/2b 3000, Christian Smith p/1b 2000, Dan Callen ss 2000, Cole Grenci lf 1100, Ben Smith 3b 2011, Ayden Wiles cf 2010, David Wiles DH 2010, Camden Hankey rf 0000, Drew Beichner c 1000, Travis Preston cr 0000. Totals 17-1-3-1.



Spencer Miller ss/p/ss 2420, Cam Craig 1b/ss/3b 4320, Sterling Conner c/3b/2b 3332, Skylar Rhoades cf 3112, Cole Slaugenhaup 3b 0100, Lake Staub ph/c 1001, Drew Wrhen 1b 3013, Cutter Boggess rf 1000, Nick Frederick ph/rf 0001, Noah DiTullio 2b 1001, Calvin German ph/2b/p 1000, Nate Datko lf 2000, Skyler Pastor lf 1000. Totals 22-12-9-10.

LOB: C-L 4. Clarion 7. Errors: C-L 2. Clarion 0. 2B: Ben Smith, David Wiles, Miller, Craig, Conner, Wrhen. SB: Miller, Conner. SF: Frederick. HBP: Grenci by Miller. Miller by Hawthorn.



Christian Smith 1 ⅔ IP, 7 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HP
Ian Hawthorn 2 ⅓ IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 7 BB, 1 K, 1 HP
Totals: 4 IP, 9 H, 12 R, 9 ER, 9 BB, 3 K, 1 HP


Cam Craig 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HP
Spencer Miller 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HP
Calvin German 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HP
Totals: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HP

Winning pitcher: Cam Craig
Losing pitcher: Christian Smith

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