The 2012 season was all about gaining experience as only two players, Taylor Smith (11) and Dylan Moerschbacher (10), had significant playing time the previous year as a sophomore and freshman, respectively. Other returning players looking to make an impact were Kevin Tate (12), Skylor Wian (12), Tyler Sunday (12), Seth Weaver (11), Jordan Fye (11), and Doylan Deitrich (10). Newcomers to the varsity squad were Dan Roan, Mike Mann, Nate Corrigan, Tanner Light, Brandon Shuey, Ethan White, Ryan McCloskey, and Connor Poorman all of which were juniors.
Of the 19 total games played, 11 were determined by 3 runs or less included all 6 wins. The most memorable of these “barn-burners” were the games against Clearfield, Hollidaysburg, Penns Valley and Juniata.
-The Clearfield game, our second of the season, was thought to be over early as Tyler Sunday dominated for four shutout innings while the Red Raiders exploded for 12 runs. However, the Bison managed to comeback against the bullpen with the aid of some untimely errors to take the lead in the bottom of the 6th by one run. The Red Raiders got right back after it as Ethan White and Seth Weaver led-off with walks. Dan Roan laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners over. Mike Mann followed with a walk to load the bases and Nate Corrigan notched the tying run by grounding out to the second baseman for the second out. Kevin Tate untied the game by hitting an RBI single and Ryan McCloskeyfollowed with another RBI single to give us a two run lead, 15-13. Taylor Smith shutdown the Bison offense by striking out two batters in the bottom of the 7th to preserve the win.
-The Hollidaysburg game near the end of the season featured a pitchers’ duel with Tyler Sunday throwing 9 innings allowing only 1 run while scattering 9 hits, striking out 6 and walking only 2. The Red Raiders earned their lone run against a tough lefty, Dominic Viduya, as Kevin Tate singled with one out. Andrew Stover, a late-season addition to the varsity squad, doubled to left field putting Tate on third base. Dan Roan then hit a sacrifice fly to left scoring Tate. However, Hollidaysburg lifted a solo home run to lead off the 10th inning and win in walk-off fashion.
-Penns Valley DH. Two games earlier in the season against Penns Valley were entirely different games, but provided excitement and intensity that was equal. In game one at Bellefonte, Penns Valley jumped out to a 5 run lead in the top of the 1st. The Red Raiders came right back to score 6 in the bottom half of the 1st. The battled continued to be back and forth with runs scored nearly every inning, including the top of the 7th when the Rams tied the game at 10-10. However, in the bottom of the 7th, Tanner Light led off with a double and Skylor Wianwas entered to pinch run for his speed. Taylor Smith did his duty by sacrifice bunting Wianto third base, but the next batter popped out to first base. The stage was set for Dylan Moerschbacher to end the game and with one big swing he sent a line-drive down the line and just foul. Later in the at-bat, Dylan struck out swinging, but had the sense to run to first as the ball got past the catcher. Wian saw the opening and scored the winning run.
-In game two versus Penns Valley, Taylor Smith was on the mound looking to stop a confident Penns Valley team that handed Mifflin County their first loss of the season and had eventual league co-champs Philipsburg and Central Mountain on the ropes late in those games. However, it was Smith that was in control allowing only 5 hits in 7 innings of shutout pitching. The Red Raider offense had to manufacture runs to support Smith’s gem of a game. In the second inning, after a Brandon Shuey one-out walk, Tanner Light singled and Smith also walked to load the bases. Doylan Deitrich stepped in and grounded to the third baseman who stepped on the base for the second out. As Shuey raced home from third,Deitrich beat out the double play throw to first base to preserve the run. Later in the forth inning Shuey walked to lead-off, however, the next two batters could not move him around to scoring position. The steal sign was given on the first pitch to Deitrich and Shuey got a good jump. Deitrich laced the ball for a double down the left field line score Shuey easily. The final run came in the fifth as Kevin Tate led-off with a double to right-center. Courtesy runner, Seth Weaver, entered for Tate as Dylan Moerschbacher came to the plate. After missing the sacrifice bunt attempts, Dylan struck out swinging. However, the catcher had trouble handling the ball and Dylan raced to first base. Weaver took advantage and moved up to third base reading the catcher’s confused reaction and the ball placement underMoerschbacher in the batter’s box. Dan Roan then stepped in and successfully hit a ground ball to the right side for an out easily scoring Weaver for the Red Raiders third and final run of the game.
-Junitata. The Red Raiders’ trip to Juniata provided cold, windy and rainy weather. Both teams benefited from walks and errors mixed with a few hits. Dan Roan and Jordan Fye both singled in runs early, but in the 6th inning after Bellefonte scored two runs to take a 5-2 lead, Juniata came right back with three runs to tie it up going into the 7th inning. It wasn’t until the 9th inning that the Red Raiders were able to capitalize on offense to breakout with three runs and a 8-5 lead. Fye led off with a single and stole second base. Roan promptly followed with an RBI double, while Doylan Deitrich scored Roan with a single and then scored himself on a passed ball. Taylor Smith who had entered to pitch in the 7th proceeded to put a stop to any type of Juniata extra innings win as the defense back him up to capture a 9 inning win.
By the end of season, only a few players established themselves as consistent contributors leaving the door wide open for the start of the 2013 season.
-Dan Roan led the offense with a .472 league average, .404 season total average, led the team with one home run and one triple, and played solid defense at first base with a .989 fielding percentage. Dan earned an spot on the 2012 Mountain League All-Star team at first base. He was also nominated for All-State consideration for the AAA classification.
-Kevin Tate earned two awards for his efforts. The 2012 Jerry Luckovich Award given to the baseball player who demonstrates the highest integrity, trustworthiness and work ethic, as well as, the James H. Snyder Award given to a senior athlete for a high scholastic average, the highest qualities of leadership in general school affairs, and a record of participation in non-athletic activities as well as sports. Kevin also earned a nomination for Mountain League All-Star consideration as a catcher. Kevin’s no-nonsense, hard-working approach landed him behind the plate consistently and he was able to propel his batting average to .333 in league play and .321 for the season. Kevin led the team with 3 doubles and 9 RBI.
-Taylor Smith earned a nomination for Mountain League All-Star consideration as a pitcher. Taylor’s control with multiple pitches in various counts kept hitters in check. His 2.65 ERA and a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio kept us in most ballgames he pitched as he earned 4 wins and 2 saves. Taylor was heavily counted on as a pitcher for us as he amassed 42 and 2/3 innings of work in all possible situations.
Other notable accomplishments:
-Dylan Moerschbacher batted .372 for the year splitting time between first base and the outfield. He was third on the team with a .425 on-base percentage.
-5 players gained double-digits in hits: Roan (19), Tate (17), Moerschbacher (13),Jordan Fye (13), and Seth Weaver (10).
-Jordan Fye led the team in at-bats with 62 and stolen bases with 4. His defensiveflexibility and gritty determination to step up and take on any challenge was heavily counted as he played all positions, except first base and catcher.
-Tyler Sunday. In only 6 pitching appearances and 32 innings of work on the season, Tyler Sunday amassed Bellefonte’s 6th best ERA in recent history at 1.53 (7 earned runs) along with an opponents batting average of .175 and 38 strikeouts. His most notable games were…(5 K’s in 4 shutout innings vs. Clearfield), (9 K’s in 5 shutout innings vs. Huntingdon), (12 K’s in 7 innings vs. Juniata), and (1 run in 9 innings vs AAA District 6 opponent Hollidaysburg).