Jayhawks look ahead to next season
Jeannette baseball did not finish the 2013 the way head coach Marcus Clarkson would have liked, but the Jayhawks' skipper can begin to focus on continuing to rebuild his emerging program to take a run at the section leaders in 2014.
Jeannette limped to the finish line by losing it's final two games, an 11-8 loss to Greensburg Central Catholic, the second place finisher in Section 4-AA, and a 9-5 loss to Section 4-A bottom-feeder St. Joseph.
While neither loss affected Jeannette (6-6, 8-8) in the standings — they entered the final week of play in fourth place, and finished in fourth place — Clarkson was hopeful the team would be able to rally, beat its arch-rival Greensburg Central Catholic, take care of business against St. Joseph and secure a 10-win season which is a rarity for Jeannette baseball.
“Ten wins hasn't happened here too often,” said Clarkson. “It would be great to accomplish something like that.”
Jeannette began the season with higher aspirations and seemed to be on track for a run at the playoffs when they started 3-0 in the section including a big, 6-3 win over this year's section champ, Steel Valley.
But a tough stretch of five section losses in seven games dropped the Jayhawks to the fourth spot in the standings where they could not escape.
Clarkson knows 2014 could be the year that snaps the recent drought of years missing the playoffs because of a solid core of both position players and pitching.
Tony Mash, a sophomore on this year's roster, developed nicely on the bump throughout the year, and sophomore Terell Canady and freshman Jimmy Malick give Clarkson depth on the mound.
Junior catcher Michael Wise will return after an all-section season to anchor the offense, and sophomores Shawn Poth and Zack Altieri should continue to develop.
WPIAL Section 4-AA:
Steel Valley (10-2) (12-5)
Greensburg Central Catholic (9-3) (11-5)
Shady Side Academy (9-3) (12-7)
Jeannette (6-6) (8-8)
Southmoreland (3-9) (9-11)
East Allegheny (3-9) (4-13)
South Allegheny (2-10) (4-14)
Dave Moio is a freelance writer.