Clearview claims Diamond spot
Brett Milden trotted to center field for the bottom of the seventh inning. The senior had just hit a sacrifice fly to right field with the bases loaded to give Clearview a one-run lead at Kingsway. A win would clinch a berth in the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic, a 16-team baseball tournament that the Pioneers hadn't played in since 1997.
Brett Milden trotted to center field for the bottom of the seventh inning.
The senior had just hit a sacrifice fly to right field with the bases loaded to give Clearview a one-run lead at Kingsway. A win would clinch a berth in the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic, a 16-team baseball tournament that the Pioneers hadn't played in since 1997.
With one out, Kingsway's Matt Lesyk hit a long line drive to center field. Milden ran hard to his left, leaped, and made a catch that drew cheers from the Clearview bench.
Two batters later, the game was over. Clearview edged Kingsway, 2-1, to clinch the Tri-County Conference Royal Division spot in the Diamond Classic.
"I knew that [Eric] Lauk, the rightfielder, always backs me up," Milden said of his catch. "He knows that I like to go hard for balls and like to put myself on the line. Especially in a situation like that, you really got to go for it all, because it's an extra-base hit. I put myself on the line, and I'm lucky to have come up with it."
"We're ecstatic," coach Rocco Cornacchia said. "It's the most prestigious tournament around, and for us to be a part of that is just a great honor for our school and our community."
Senior pitcher T.J. Dezzi threw a complete game for Clearview, striking out nine, walking three, and allowing six hits. Five of the strikeouts came in the first two innings.
Cornacchia called Dezzi the team's "senior leader" and said Dezzi deserves a lot of credit.
The Pioneers didn't get going at the plate until the seventh inning. They had one run and one hit through six.
In the seventh, Clearview strung together three straight singles. Kingsway's starting, Pete Bradian, who was praised by Cornacchia, pitched 52/3 innings and allowed one hit. Cornacchia added that his team felt some pressure because of the stakes.
Dezzi has committed to play baseball at the University of the Sciences next year, and Milden has committed to play soccer for Bloomsburg.
Dezzi said it means a lot to have a successful senior year. The Pioneers are 9-2 overall and 4-2 in the conference, and the Dragons are 6-8 overall and 2-2 in the conference.
"I'm trying to have a big year," Dezzi said. "It's another big conference win. We're right in the race for that, too."
Clearview 010 000 1 - 2 4 0
Kingsway 000 100 0 - 1 6 1
WP: T.J. Dezzi. LP: Ryan Lee.