Spring City com­pletes quest for re­demp­tion, wins Pa. cham­pi­onship

The Community Connection - - SPORTS - By Dennis Weller

BOY­ER­TOWN » Seven play­ers came back from col­lege for one last sea­son of base­ball with the Spring City Amer­i­can Le­gion team this year and their lead­er­ship and ef­forts paid off with a state ti­tle, thanks to a 6-1 win over Soud­er­ton in Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon’s cham­pi­onship game at Bear Sta­dium.

Tour­na­ment MVP Brad Cle­mens threw a com­pletegame, seven-hit­ter, Coy Wal­ters (the tour­na­ment bat­ting cham­pion) had two hits and Nick Price hit three dou­bles for the Red Sox (39-4), who had al­ready clinched a spot in next week’s Mid-At­lantic Re­gional to be played Pur­cel­lville, VA start­ing Wed­nes­day Au­gust 8.

“From the be­gin­ning of the sea­son, the lead­ers set the goals for us, not the coaches,” said Spring City fifth-year man­ager Mike Gan­casz. “Ev­ery­body bought in and it was truly a team ef­fort. Seven post­grad­u­ates, which is the most we’ve ever had.”

“It’s re­ally cool to be in­volved with the pro­gram all my life,” said Cle­mens, who was bat boy for the team in 2007. “It’s a plea­sure. It’s cool to win here like they did in 2010 (Spring City’s pre­vi­ous state ti­tle).”

Cle­mens struck out one and walked two in his outing, which fea­tured just 99 pitches for the righthander.

Wal­ters (7-for-14 in the tour­na­ment) and Price ripped back-to-back dou­bles to give Spring City a 1-0 lead in the top of the first in­ning and Soud­er­ton Post 234 (28-5) tied it in the bot­tom half on an RBI sin­gle to left by catcher Moses Cle­mens. Then the Red Sox re­gained the lead with five more runs in the fourth.

Jake Skrocki bunted for a hit with one out to get the big in­ning go­ing, Kasey Caras (tour­na­ment sports­man­ship award win­ner) walked and Cle­mens sin­gled through the mid­dle to load the bases. Then

Wal­ters was hit by a pitch to force in a run, a wild pitch scored an­other be­fore Price drilled a tworun dou­ble to deep right­cen­ter to make it 4-1. A bases-loaded walk to Pat Jucker pro­duced the fi­nal run.

“Ev­ery­one was hit­ting the ball,” said Cle­mens. who will be a sopho­more at East­ern Univer­sity next year. “It was a hit pa­rade. It was con­ta­gious.”

“I re­ally got on fire this week,” said Wal­ters, who led

the team to a .305 bat­ting av­er­age.

Spring City had al­ready clinched at least sec­ond place and a na­tional re­gional berth with a 4-2 win over de­fend­ing cham­pion Ephrata on Tues­day night. And even though that helped the Red Sox re­lax a lit­tle bit on Wed­nes­day, they still wanted to leave Boy­er­town’s Bear Sta­dium with a state ti­tle.

“That didn’t stop us,” said Price. “We wanted a state cham­pi­onship. We play the same game of base­ball ev­ery day ... Spring City base­ball. We don’t take any game for granted.”

“That def­i­nitely re­laxed us a lot, but we re­ally wanted to win the state cham­pi­onship,” Wal­ters added.

Many of the same play­ers had won the State Ju­nior Le­gion cham­pi­onship in 2015.

“I won it a cou­ple of years ago in Ju­nior Le­gion,” said Wal­ters. “This felt bet­ter. It’s a lot of fun. It re­ally means a lot.”

“We had the ex­pe­ri­ence and ev­ery­thing,” Price added. “We have a great group of guys. So much chem­istry this year.”

The Red Sox will play their first Mid-At­lantic Re­gional game Wed­nes­day at 4 p.m. at Fire­man’s Field in

Pur­cel­lville, Vir­ginia, against the Vir­ginia cham­pion.

“We’re look­ing for­ward to it,” said Price. “We re­ally want to keep it go­ing. We’re go­ing to be re­freshed and ready to go and rep­re­sent Penn­syl­va­nia the best we can.”

“Our main goal was to get to Vir­ginia with the same group of guys we had in Homer City (at the 2015

Ju­nior Le­gion Tour­na­ment),” said Cle­mens. “It was cool to win it again with these guys.”

Soud­er­ton had won its first three games be­fore fall­ing to Ephrata 4-1 on Tues­day. The BuxMont League and Re­gion 2 cham­pi­ons will open the Mid-At­lantic Re­gional with a 9 a.m. con­test Wed­nes­day against the New Jersey state cham­pion.

“They made all the plays,” Post 234 man­ager Paul Meara said con­cern­ing the Red Sox. “I think we hit the ball hard. Our pitcher (Ja­cob Hor­ton) bat­tled. He did a nice job. They hit the ball. Give them credit.

“If I told the play­ers be­fore the sea­son that they’d go 28-5 and fin­ish sec­ond in the state, they’d be pretty happy, even though they’re dis­ap­pointed now.”

“We have fun from a coach­ing staff per­spec­tive,” Gan­casz added. “Our job is still to teach them about the game. They’re well-re­spected play­ers. We love them through and through.”

THOMAS NASH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Mem­bers of the Spring City Amer­i­can Le­gion base­ball team gather with the tro­phy af­ter win­ning the Pa. State Tour­na­ment Cham­pi­onship on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon at Bear Sta­dium. The Red Sox beat Soud­er­ton 6-1 for their first State Tour­na­ment ti­tle since 2010.

THOMAS NASH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Spring City’s Brad Cle­mens, right, named the Pa. State Tour­na­ment’s Most Valu­able Player, poses with Re­gion 3 di­rec­tor Jack Purdy.

THOMAS NASH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Spring City’s Coy Wal­ters, left, and Brad Cle­mens cel­e­brate af­ter both scored on Nick Price’s two-run dou­ble dur­ing the fourth in­ning against Soud­er­ton on Wed­nes­day.

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