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Clarence looking for another Centre County Baseball League title

by on July 05, 2018 10:11 AM

It took a long time for the Clarence Mounties to climb back to the top of the Centre County Baseball League, but since they got there, they apparently have been enjoying the view.
So much so, in fact, that they are showing no indications of leaving.
The CCBL Championship seemed forever to be the domain of the Lemont Ducks or the Philipsburg Spike Island Pirates, but two years ago, Clarence finally broke through after sweeping Howard in the 2016 finals.
Then last year, the Mounties dominated the entire season. They lost just one regularly scheduled game and swept through the playoffs without a loss.
Now, as the 2018 season is rolling toward the playoffs, Clarence finds itself in its familiar No. 1 position in the standings, but things are different in the CCBL.
The league is back to eight teams with the addition of the formerly inactive Blanchard Bees, and there is a new balance in the CCBL. As of the standings on July 3, six of the eight teams in the league are within six games of first place.
The Mounties are still atop the standings, but they have two losses and ended a five-game winning streak with a 4-2 setback at Lemont on July 1.
The remaining schedule is somewhat in favor of Clarence, with three consecutive home games against Howard, Pleasant Gap and Spring Mills (at Shaner Sports Complex) coming up before the Mounties finish their season with a game at Lemont and then back home against the Coyotes.
Pleasant Gap is close behind and just two games out of first place. The Peppers would be right there with Clarence if they hadn’t lost twice to Howard on June 24 and July 1. Still, with a game in hand and a final meeting with the Mounties coming up Friday, July 6, catching Clarence is not out of the question.
Neither is it for the surprising Bees. Blanchard is three games back, but with just two games to play, including one with Clarence, the Bees will need some help.
Rounding out the standings, Blanchard is followed by Howard, Spike Island, Spring Mills, Lemont and the Clarence Coyotes.
As the playoffs approach, there is no doubt that the Mounties will be a tough out. They have five solid pitchers — all with ERAs of less than 4.00 — and seven hitters over .300. Two of those hitters, Zach Rote and Brian Kochik, are hitting over .400.
If the playoffs started now, No. 1 Clarence would draw the Coyotes, No. 2 Pleasant Gap would get the Ducks, No. 3 Blanchard would play Spring Mills and No. 4 Howard would square off with Spike Island.
Don’t pencil in those higher seeds, however, because there are always upsets in the CCBL playoffs, and this year especially could be ripe for some big surprises.

 



Pat Rothdeutsch covers Penn State football for The Centre County Gazette. Email him at sports@centrecountygazette.com
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