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Jeannette coach Clarkson itching for a Junior Legion team win

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Jeannette junior legion head coach Marcus Clarkson is a casual observer of the National Hockey League and is somewhat familiar with the playoff beard phenomenon that sweeps through NHL cities this time of year.

He probably regrets knowing that right now.

Clarkson promised his team that he would not shave until Jeannette posted their first victory of the season. At 0-8, Clarkson is getting itchy.

“I do not like growing facial hair,” said a grizzly Clarkson. “I am hoping we get a win here soon so I can shave this thing off.”

Clarkson had four chances to shave over the past two weeks of action, but Jeannette dropped two games to Penn-Trafford, one to Kiski and one to Greensburg. The common thread running throughout the four games — Jeannette cannot score runs.

“I have tried several different lineup combinations and have been playing the younger guys to try to get the offense going,” said Clarkson. “Seems like ever time we get a guy in scoring position we have two outs and cannot get that one big hit that can change a game.”

The first Penn Trafford game ended in a 7-0 loss with starting pitcher Keith Borland throwing four dominant innings before PT could get to him in the fifth. Neither game featured any offense to speak of, but the second Penn Trafford game was far worse as Jeannette pitching walked 13 batters on the way to a 16-2 demolition.

Two excellent, complete games by Jimmy Malik, Jeannette's most consistent pitcher this season, were wasted because Jeannette could not muster enough offense to match Malik's good work.

Jeannette lost to Kiski 5-2, perhaps their best performance of the season, in one of the Malik starts, and dropped a 4-0 decision to Greensburg in the other.

Clarkson praised Malik for pitching his game and not letting the pressure of pitching despite little or no run support from a struggling offense.

Clarkson will continue to try different combinations to spur his offense. He is hoping the results show up in the score book and on his bearded face.

“I'm bringing shaving cream and a razor to all the games,” said Clarkson. “I need to get this beard off as soon as possible.”

Dave Moio is a freelance writer.

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