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Live from the Class AA baseball final: Clarence beats OP, 7-3 (with video)

Sign and the flag make for a nice photo, even on an iPhone. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

We're live at Niagara Falls' Hyde Park, home of Sal Maglie Stadium, site of three Section VI baseball championship games this week.

Today it is a great matchup between top-seeded Clarence and No. 2 seed and ECIC I rival Orchard Park in the Class AA final at 4:30 p.m. We'll keep track of the action, inning-by-inning.

4:46 p.m. Clarence standout junior pitcher Zach Lauricella pitched a perfect top of the first, striking out two with a weak fly to left sandwiched between them.

4:54 p.m. Clarence threatened in the bottom of the first as it had first and second with one out, but did not score. Leadoff batter Adam Urschel hit a line drive off of the OP pitcher; the third basemen picked the ball up and threw him out on a nice play although it appeared that Urschel beat the throw.

5:03 p.m. This time OP gets on, but we're still scoreless after the top of the second. Paul Leavell and Jimmy Fitzgerald had back-to-back singles after one was out, but Lauricella got a foul pop up by Bryan Lang and struck out Scott Tatay looking for the third out.

5:35 p.m. My apologies for some technical difficulties.

Clarence has a 4-0 lead after three innings thanks to a four-run second. Ben Smith drew a bases-loaded walk, Urschel followed with a sharp two-run single up the middle and, after a strikeout and an intentional walk to Lauricella, Andrew Lawrence dinked into an RBI single into left field.

OP got a single from Dave Crowley in the top of the third but nothing else. Clarence got a leadoff single from Mark Armstrong in the bottom of the inning but nothing else.

5:43 p.m. OP gets on the board and Clarence leads, 4-1, in the middle of the fourth. Max Korzaniewski lined a single to left field to bring in A.J. Witkowski from third. Witkowski had led off with a walk, moved to second on a walk to Leavell and to third on a double play. 

5:52 p.m. Clarence picks up another run to take a 5-1 lead after four. Matthew Grazen led off with a walk, moved to second on a single up the middle by Lauricella, then scored from second when the OP second basemen couldn't keep a tough ball in the infield off the bat of Lawrence.

6:03 p.m. Clarence kept its 5-1 lead after the top of the fifth thanks to a fantastic inning-ending double play. With the bases loaded, second basemen Mike Elwood handled a tough, hard hop just to the right of the bag and flipped to Urschel, who fired it on to first to a roar from the hundred or so on hand from Clarence.

6:12 p.m. Mark Armstrong led off the bottom of the fifth with a single for Clarence, but that was all and the Red Devils' lead remains 5-1.

6:19 p.m. Another inning-ending double play for Clarence to end a threat. Wow. With runners at the corners, Lauricella handled a comebacker by Scott Tatay and fired to shortstop Urschel at second, who went on to first.

That play was preceded by a fabulous defensive play by Ellwood, who came in on a slow roller and used just his glove to field and then flip to Urschel for a force play at second. Great play. Clarence still leads, 5-1.

6:29 p.m. Clarence added another two runs for a 7-1 lead after six. Grazen led off with a walk and scored on a triple by Lauricella, who bombed the ball over the right fielder's head to one-hop the wall. Lauricella later scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Matt Creenan.

6:39 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Clarence 7, Orchard Park 3.

OP's Dylan Baun had a two-run blast of a home run over the left field fence in the top of the seventh. Off to do interviews; we'll have more here later.

* * *

Celebration time for Clarence as coach Dave Smith gets dunked after some nice Red Devils teamwork kept him distracted.

* * *

Postgame reaction from Clarence:

Elwood was one of the most important players in the game -- even though he was the player who was replaced in the lineup for a designated hitter.

"It just gives me a better chance to focus on my defense," he said. "It feels great [to contribute]. We won the championship and that's all that counts."

* * *

Orchard Park coach Jim Gibson:

"We had our opportunities -- we actually outhit them [9 to 8], but we didn't do it with men on base. We hit into three double plays, all with chances to score runs. I thought we shot ourselves in the foot and I thought there were a few questionable calls that hurt us. Clarence is a good team -- they take advantage of your mistakes."

* * *

Here's my story.

---Keith McShea

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tagged

Baseball | Clarence | Orchard Park | Video
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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN | [email protected]

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