Clarence opened with four runs in the first inning and capped off the final Game 3 with a five-run sixth to power past Lemont 13-3 and end the Ducks’ run in the first round of the County League playoffs on Thursday night.
The Mounties won the series 2-1, and will meet Pleasant Gap in Game 1 of the league semifinals at 2 p.m. Sunday in Clarence.
Clarence pounded out 20 hits on Thursday night, behind three hits and five RBIs from Kalen Gearhart, and three hits and three RBIs from Derek Jabco. Ryan Guenot added four hits on the night for Clarence, while Brian Kochik and Hunter Guenot added three hits apiece, and Dillon Schall and Justin Koleno each collected two.
On the mound, Kochik gave up three runs on six hits, striking out nine in the complete-game victory.
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Clarence ended a serious run by Lemont, which has won eight of the nine County League titles. The last time the Ducks did not reach the league championship series was 2004, ironically the last time the Mounties claimed the title.
The Mounties took a 4-0 lead in the first inning behind Gearhart’s two-run home run, and led 8-0 after four when they struck for three more in the fourth behind a Jabco RBI double and RBI singles from Ryan Guenot and Kochik.
The Ducks closed the gap to 8-3 in the top of the fifth behind RBI hits from Clint Hicks and Kyle Peterson before Clarence closed the door in the sixth with five more runs — powered by a two-run double from Gearhart, a pair of RBI singles from Adam Day and Dillon Schall, and a Jabco RBI double.
Jared Dailey took the loss for the Ducks after giving up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings. Keiran Kempton and Hicks each owned a pair of singles to pace Lemont’s offense.