CLEARFIELD - A lot of baseball teams would have been staggering after back-to-back home runs and a 4-0 deficit after one inning of play, but not the Claysburg American Legion team.
Despite being outscored 10-0 in the first inning of their first three Region 7 tournament contests, Claysburg has yet to taste defeat.
After spotting Cambria County League rival Bedford a 4-0 lead after the first, Claysburg went on to score 11 of the last 15 runs en route to an 11-8 win in the winner's bracket finals on Monday in Clearfield.
Mike Mock, who was 4-for-4 with four RBIs, smacked a three-run home run to put Claysburg ahead in the third, while Jay Stern was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to break a seven-all tie in the eighth.
"It's a true testament to these guys because there's never any quit and they never get rattled," said Claysburg head coach Dave Aungst, whose team is the only one remaining without a loss.
"They're a close-knit group and we know we've got the bats to hit against anybody."
Bedford's Austin Montgomery smacked a two-run homer in the first to open the scoring, while Eric Grace followed suit on the ensuing offering from Claysburg starter Zach Cox.
Travis Hickey followed with an RBI double to extend the lead to 4-0 after one, but Claysburg started chipping away against Robert Hernandez in the third before going ahead on Mock's bomb.
Ethan Lewis and Nick Hoenstine opened the inning with back-to-back infield singles before an RBI double from Austin McMonagle put Claysburg on the board. A Stern RBI single preceded Mock's bomb to put Claysburg ahead.
"As big of a rivalry as it is," Aungst said, "there's a lot of mutual respect there. We made a couple of mistakes to them early and they were all over it, but we were able to keep them in check after that. It was a great game all around."
After Claysburg broke open the tie in the top of the eighth, Bedford threatened with consecutive singles from Spencer McInroy and Montgomery.
Grace, who represented the tying run, followed by hitting another ball well. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, it was a little bit too well hit.
The ball one hopped its way to Mock at shortstop. He calmly tagged second and fired to first for a double play to quell Bedford's last gasp. McInroy later scored on a wild pitch, but Claysburg's Zach Slagenweit negated the run in the ninth on an RBI single from Hoenstine.
"I give credit to Claysburg," Bedford coach Jordan Mills said. "They're a good-hitting team and they've got a good group of guys over there. They come to play every game and they put some hits together when they needed to.
"(The early lead) was exactly what we wanted. We wanted to get up and stay up, but obviously everything doesn't work in your favor."
Bedford (23-6) will tangle with Beech Creek in an elimination game at noon, while Claysburg squares off against once-beaten Murrysville at 3 p.m.
CLAYSBURG (11): Lewis rf 533, Hoenstine 2b 413, McMonagle ss-3b 421, Stern 1b 511, Mock c-ss 414, Cox p-c 5001, Runk cf 300, Strayer 3b 200, McKnight p 200, Slagenweit lf 532. Totals: 39-11-14.
BEDFORD (8): Shaffer ss 100, Hengst lf 111, Miller c 100, McInroy cf-ss 322, Montgomery 3b-1b 512, Grace 1b-p 512, Downs dh-lf 501, Kline 2b 322, Hickey rf 512, Stover c-3b 500, Waugerman lf-cf 502. Totals: 39-8-14.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Claysburg005 101 031 - 11 14 0
Bedford400 120 010 - 8 14 1
E-Waugerman. LOB-Claysburg 11, Bedford 11. DP-Claysburg. 2B-McMonagle; Hickey. HR-Mock; Montgomery, Grace. RBIs-Hengst, McInroy 2, Montgomery 2, Grace, Hickey, Hoenstine, McMonagle, Stern 2, Mock 4, Cox. SAC-Hoenstine, Runk; McInroy. SB-Lewis, Hoenstine, Mock, Slagenweit. HBP-Stern, McKnight (by Grace). WP-Cox 2, McKnight 1; Hernandez 3, Grace 1.
Claysburg: Cox 3 2/3 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO; McKnight 5 1/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO.
Bedford: Hernandez 6 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO; Grace 3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO.