CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield American Legion Post 6 baseball team returns to the Central Penn League this year and will open their 21-game schedule with a trip to DuBois this evening.
Since the mid-1970s, Clearfield has been a member of the Jefferson County League, which disbanded over the winter when it was learned only four communities would be fielding teams.
While Clearfield and DuBois joined the CPL, Punxsutawney moved into the Indiana County League and Brookville entered the Clarion County League.
The Chiefs will compete in the CPL’s West Division with DuBois, Philipsburg, State College, Altoona and Hollidaysburg.
They’ll play those teams two times apiece and the East Division’s Clarence, Bellefonte, Penns Valley, Beech Creek and Mifflin County once for a 15-game league slate.
The top four teams in each division will advance to the double-elimination championship playoffs, which are set to begin July 11.
Sid Lansberry will manage the Chiefs for the 16th season, with Ed Yeager and Tom Danver returning as coaches.
Last year, Clearfield finished 11-15-1, including five forfeit wins, with a .292 batting average and a 7.19 earned run average.
Leading the cast of holdovers are infielder Derek Danver and catcher/first baseman Andrew Redden, who combined for 64 hits, 49 runs batted in and 42 runs scored.
Danver, coming off an outstanding rookie season for Penn State Altoona, proved to be the perfect leadoff batter by cracking 29 hits for a .475 average, drawing 15 walks, reaching base six times when he was hit by a pitch and scoring 24 runs in 21 games. He socked eight doubles, one triple and three home runs and had 20 RBIs.
Redden, who is concentrating on football at St. Francis University and saw some varsity action last fall, topped the Chiefs with 35 hits for a .459 average as well as RBIs with 29 in 20 games. He clubbed seven doubles, two triples and three homers.
Corner infielder Coleman Kubala (.345), infielder/pitcher Kyler Kephart (.238, 10 RBIs), outfielder/pitcher Ronny Ogden (.233) and middle infielder Cole Kephart (.233) are the only other returnees who played in more than half of the games last summer.
Pitcher/first baseman Jon Janocko (.222) and catcher Jonas Kochan (.176) each saw action in 10 games.
None of the pitchers who logged wins are back.
Kyler Kephart (0-1) had the most appearances, seven, but made only one start and worked just 17 innings.
Redden and Ogden both were 0-3 with three starts in four appearances.
They pitched in 15.2 and 9.2 innings, respectively, with Redden’s 5.36 ERA the best of the returning hurlers.
Ten Chiefs saw plenty of action for the 4-13 Clearfield Area High School team this spring.
Kephart (2-5) or Ogden (1-5) started 13 games on the mound.
They also were two of the top hitters for the Bisons, Kephart posting a .352 with a team-high 20 RBIs and Ogden registering a .314 with 13 RBIs.
Outfield/pitcher Tanner Ogden hit .350 with 19 RBIs, while designated hitter/pitcher/first baseman Thomas Summers had a .306 average and Kubala checked in at .304.
Cole Kephart, Kochan, outfielder/infielder/pitcher Wyatt Westen and outfielder Curtis Collins were regulars for the Bisons, and Janocko had several starts at the corner infield positions.
Westen (1-1) also pitched in 22.1 innings in seven games, all but one in a relief role.
The 2012 Chiefs’ roster:
Curtis Collins, of; Derek Danver, if; Derek Hryn, if; Jon Janocko, p-1b; Devin Jones, p-1b; Matt Josephson, of; Cole Kephart, ss-2b; Kyler Kephart, if-p; Josh Kennedy, 3b; Jonas Kochan, c; Coleman Kubala, 3b-1b; Ronny Ogden, of-p; Tanner Ogden, of-p-of; Andrew Redden, c-1b; Josh Sorbera, c; Thomas Summers, p-1b; Zach Timchak, of; Wyatt Westen, of-if-p.
The schedule, with home games in capitals and all games at 6 p.m. unless noted:
29 – at DuBois
1 – at Clarence; 5 – BEECH CREEK; 7 – FOX TOWNSHIP (non-league) ; 9 – BELLEFONTE (5 p.m.); 10 – MIFFLIN COUNTY (5:30 p.m.); 12 – at Hollidaysburg; 13 – at State College; 15 – at Penns Valley; 16 – CLEARFIELD WISE EYES (non-league, 5 p.m.); 18 – ALTOONA; 20 – PHILIPSBURG; 22 – Bellefonte Wood Bat Tournament (two games TBA); 23 – Bellefonte Wood Bat Tournament (two games TBA); 26 – at Altoona; 28 – HOLLIDAYABURG; 30 – STATE COLLEGE (5 p.m.).
3 – DUBOIS; 8 – at Philipsburg; 11-18 – Central Penn League Playoffs.