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Junior Legion season ends for Jeannette

| Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
PHOTOS: John Howard | The Jeannette Spirit
Tyler Sciarrino throws a ball from second to first base in a junior Legion playoff game.
Jeannette's Tre Cunningham runs to first base on a single.
Chris Wise arrives safely at first base.
Brendt Billeck catches a foul fly ball for Jeannette out.

Marcus Clarkson made a discovery during Jeannette's 2013 junior Legion baseball season that could have major national ramifications — the U.S. economy is fine.

Though the Jeannette junior Legion head coach does not possess an economics degree, has no idea what the current GDP numbers are and is not innately aware of the nation's unemployment figures or lending interest rate, he knows that economy is fine based on a very key economic indicator — the FVR, or Family Vacation Rate for those not in the know.

Clarkson has mixed and matched lineups for most of Jeannette's season because he always seems to have four or five players away on trips with their families.

“Somebody's doing something right with the economy,” said Clarkson. “I've never had so many players take vacations, so people must have more money to spend.”

Now would be the perfect time for Clarkson's entire team to take a long vacation because the 2013 season ended last week when Jeannette dropped two straight in a best-of-three, second-round playoff matchup with Penn-Trafford.

Jeannette got to the second round by winning a single-elimination game last Tuesday over Ligonier. Tyler Yurcisin got the start, went five strong innings and left with his team ahead, 10-4. Jeannette gave up three runs in the seventh but Keith Borland came in and recorded the game's final out for the save.

The first game against Penn Trafford last Wednesday had a different cadence as P.T. hitters tattooed Jeannette pitching for 11 runs. Jeannette bats quietly scratched out just one run in the loss.

Jimmy Malick threw a gem in game two for Jeannette and Trey Cunningham turned in three of the best plays at shortstop Clarkson has seen all year, but it was not enough as Jeannette dropped the game 4-1 and were officially eliminated from the playoffs.

Clarkson, who coaches Jeannette's high school team in addition to his junior Legion duties, is happy with what he learned about several players throughout the season.

“Blaze Tran and Jonathan Stokum turned in very strong performances and Jimmy Malick will compete for a spot in the rotation,” said Clarkson. “I have to wait a year at the high school for Trey Cunningham, but he will be worth the wait.”

Looking for signs — key indicators that a player will emerge to help turn things around — is part of Clarkson's job. Kind of like analyzing the economy.

Dave Moio is a freelance writer.

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