CLEAR SPRING — Behind a stellar pitching performance by A.J. Yost, Clear Spring eliminated Valley 12-1 in Thursday’s losers’ bracket final of the Maryland District 1 11-12 tournament.
Clear Spring faces National Friday at 6 p.m. with a chance to avenge its only loss of the tournament.
Yost fired a one-hitter with five strikeouts and four walks.
“That could be the game of his life,” said Clear Spring manager Pete Lazich. “Yost just pitched an excellent game against a good hitting team. He mixed speeds and hit his spots. This was a great game for him.”
Yost’s only hit — and subsequent run — allowed was a single in the bottom of the first inning by Andrew Mathias. Mathias eventually scored on a passed ball.
From there, no Valley baserunner advanced past second base.
Clear Spring’s offense gave Yost plenty of support as well.
Jaret Lazich hit his sixth homer of the tournament — a solo shot — in the top of the second to extend Clear Spring’s lead to 3-1.
Clear Spring exploded for six runs in the top of the third, highlighted by RBI singles by Yost and Lazich and a two-run error that plated Lazich and Dorian King.
“Every game goes with momentum,” Pete Lazich said. “When you get momentum on your side, good things happen.”
King hit a two-run single in the fourth to plate Zack Greenlee and Connor Michael, who both reached with bunt singles. Jaret Lazich plated Garrett Embly with an RBI double for Clear Spring’s final run.
“We preach discipline in the field and at the plate,” said Pete Lazich. “A good team doesn’t just hit home runs and line drives, it can do everything. It can lay down the bunt when you need to, it can hit to right field if you need to. We practice all of that.”
“One team’s got to win and the other’s got to lose in every game,” said Valley manager Danny Barnes. “These are 12-year-old boys. They’re not going to be perfect. We have a good team but Clear Spring caught us at the right time.”