CLEARFIELD — Eight players who contributed to the success of last year’s Clearfield American Legion baseball team will form the nucleus for the 2019 Chiefs, who will open the season Sunday at DuBois in a Jefferson County League game.
The Chiefs are coming off an 18-8 season which they capped by winning the Pennsylvania Region 7 Division II championship after finishing second to Punxsutawney/Brookville in the JCL Playoffs.
Five of the returnees – Nate Barr, Eli Glass, Allan Myers, Harrison Peacock and Hayden Williams – appeared in 19 or more of the 26 games the Chiefs played. Two of their wins were forfeits.
Seth Bumbarger saw action in 16 games, while Hunter Dixon and Cade Walker played in 11 and 10 games, respectively.
All except Bumbarger, who was a member of the Penn State DuBois team that won the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Association (PSUAC) and United State Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) championships in the spring, were mainstays on the District 9 Class AAAA runner-up Clearfield Area High School team that finished 12-10.
Manager Sid Lansberry, in his 22nd season, has listed most of his 16 players in multiple positions, including seven with pitching experience.
Glass, Walker and Dixon combined for 20 starts on the mound for the Bison and will be counted on to eat up most of the innings for the Chiefs.
Last summer, Dixon was 3-0 with a 1.65 earned run average in six appearances, Walker was 1-1 with a 2.52 ERA in just three outings and Glass was 1-3 in five games.
Peacock, Williams and rookies Nolan Barr and Morgen Billotte will get opportunities, too, with the Chiefs facing 17 games in five weeks prior to the JCL Playoffs, five in their second trip to the 37-team Hillbilly Hardball Classic in Elkins, W.Va., June 13, 14 and 15.
Myers, who hit .311 with 19 hits and 11 RBIs, will be behind the plate again, with Nate Barr (.310, 14 RBIs), Matt Bailor and newcomer Kyle Elensky providing depth.
The versatile Barr made most of his starts at shortstop last year but was the centerfielder for the high school team this spring.
Bumbarger is back for his third season at first base. He hit .220 last year after leading the Chiefs in average (.435), hits (27) and RBIs (15) in 2017. Dixon can step in there when not pitching.
Williams (.279, 10 RBIs) and Peacock (.292, 16 RBIs) were fixtures at second and third base, respectively, in 2018. They started out the high school season in those positions before Williams shifted to the hot corner and Peacock moved to right field, with Elensky taking over at second base.
Glass, who hit a torrid .596 and also led the Chiefs in hits (34) and RBIs, also can be called on at shortstop, while the Barr brothers, Billotte, Blake Prestash and Isaac Durandetta also bolster the inner defense.
Walker or Glass in left, Nate Barr in center and Nick Domico or Peacock in right would give the Chiefs outfield combinations that Bison opponents saw in most games this year. Myers, Bailor, Durandetta and Ty Troxell can be called on to patrol the outer gardens, too.
Clearfield will play 12 JCL games again, but will face the other teams only three times as Marion Center has entered to join the Chiefs, Punxsutawney, Curwensville and DuBois.
The teams finishing fourth and fifth will have a play-in game July 7 to set the pairings for the double-elimination championship playoffs July 9-15.
Ed Yeager, Aaron Williams and Andy Sorbera are the assistant coaches.
Matt Bailor, c, of; Nate Barr, of, if, c; Nolan Barr, if, p; Morgen Billotte, if, p; Seth Bumbarger, 1b; Hunter Dixon, p, 1b; Nick Domico, of; Isaac Durandetta, if, of; Kyle Elensky, if, c; Eli Glass, p, of, ss; Allan Myers, c, of; Harrison Peacock, of, p, if; Blake Prestash, 3b, 2b; Ty Troxell, of; Cade Walker, p, of; Hayden Williams, if, p.
The schedule, with JCL for Jefferson County League games and 6 p.m. starts unless noted:
2 – at DuBois (JCL); 4 – Punxsutawney (JCL); 6 – Curwensville (JCL); 10 – at Marion Center (JCL); 11 – DuBois (JCL); 13 – South Charleston (W.Va.) Post 94, 2 p.m., and Moundsville (W.Va.) Post 3, 6 p.m., in Hillbilly Hardball Classic at Elkins, W.Va.; 14 – Greenville (Ohio) Post 140, 2 p.m., and Garrett County (Md.) Post 214, 6 p.m., in Hillbilly Hardball Classic; 15 – Moorefield (W.Va.) Post 64, 3 p.m., in Hillbilly Hardball Classic; 17 – at Punxsutawney (JCL); 18 – at Curwensville (JCL); 20 – Marion Center (JCL); 21 – at Mifflin County; 25 – at DuBois (JCL); 27 – Punxsutawney (JCL); 30 – Curwensville (JCL).
4 – at Marion Center (JCL); 7-15 – Jefferson County League Playoffs.