The 2016 Centre County Baseball season has arrived, and this year the league has decided to go back to it’s traditional Mother’s Day start with two games on Sunday kicking things off.
This year we have added a new team that will be sharing the field in Clarence with the Mounties, as we welcome in the Coyotes. We are excited to have more opportunities for the young adults in the area to have a chance to continue their passion for a sport they have been playing since their early childhood. The Philipsburg Pirates are the defending league champions but will have to work hard against the six other teams to try to once again hoist the trophy in August.
Since their inception, the Pirates have been a lock to make it to the finals. This year, AJ Robinson has donned the captain’s hat to keep the ship going in the right direction. They have had a lot of players come and go through the years but have never been short on talent.
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They have a nice pitching staff anchored by all-time wins leader Josh Potter and young fireballer Jake Belinda. Matt McCamley and Matt Curtis add some veteran experience and big years are expected out of Parker Watson, Drew Bryan and Cody Doran. They are looking forward to introducing the talents of Derek Shaw and Cody Lee as well as having Brandon Quay and Mike Marcinko build off of their rookie seasons.
Head coach Doug Womer is looking to get rid of the bad taste they were left with during last year’s championship series, when a protest over an illigible player led eventually to an forfeit of the final game.
With most players from last season returning he definitely has the right group at the ready to get them back in the mix this year and finish the job. Key players for the league runners-up are Clay Smith, Dan Cole, Brian Pelka, Tyler Womer, Kyle Womer, Dylan Womer, Evan Gettig, Brandon Gettig, Luke Gardner and Gage Gardner.
Rob Gavlock relies heavily on his talented veterans and rightfully so. As the Mounties have aged they have noticeably been climbing up the ranks of the league, winning the 2014 title, and they look to keep pace with the top teams again this year. Part of that core group of relentless veterans include Brian Kochik, Ryan MacNamara, Justin Taylor, John Schall, Justin Koleno, Derek Jabco and Cody Klinger.
Pleasant Gap Peppers
Led by head coach Tony Rider, the Peppers feel they have proven themselves to be contenders but are eager to move beyond that after ending each of their last two seasons in closely-contested semifinal series against the eventual champion.
Among the Peppers who have been building this program and pushing them towards better results are Devin Alterio, Tyler James, Tyler Lalli, Dan Roan, Trey Burger, Kevin Tate, Colin Burke and Cory Cunningham. This group has the benefit of great contributions from Doylan Dietrich and Zach Moerschbacher.
Coach Melissa Hicks has done a nice job since having the Ducks put under her direction. She has been working hard filling vacancies caused by aging players and local talent that is asked to play somewhere else by their respective schools over summer breaks. They are on the verge of tipping the scales in their favor and climb back among the top half of the league.
Returning vets, including Clint Hicks, Zach Smeal, Calvin Sichler, Ben Ripka and Ty Yazujian, look to lead the squad back to victory on the diamond.
Spring Mills Braves
Under second-year coach Fred Johnson, the Braves look to build on some late-season momentum from last year. They have a good mix of young talent and proven veterans that give them the capability to keep pace with any team. Strong contributors for the Braves are Jordan Brennen, Rich Auman, Micah Schrenkle, Taylor Wingard and Branden Martz.
Jim Schall has added a new team to the league from a familiar location. Building from a pool of young talent, it was time to throw their hat in the ring. They look forward to matching up against the veterans of their local team as well as with those of the league.
The pitching staff for the Coyotes will be Jon Romine, Jeff Bennett, Tyler Schall and Andy Stover. Kyle Granite and Cullen Hamilton will be the catchers. Offensively, the Coyotes will look for leadership from Dillon Schall, Ben Verbitskey, Tyler Bennett, Jordan Kobularcik, Tanner Light, Zach Sayers, Ethan Kline and Devin Gohn.