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July 14, 2013

CORY ISENBERG | How local Legion team lost spot in tournament

JOHNSTOWN — The final spot in the American Legion Region 7 tournament will be on the line tonight in Bedford, even if it wasn’t supposed to be that way.

The Cambria League winner could be crowned tonight as undefeated Claysburg faces once-beaten Bedford at 5:30 p.m. on the Hurricanes’ field. If Claysburg wins, it will represent the league in the Region 7 tournament set to be played at Somerset, which also will play in the tournament, starting on Saturday.

Should Claysburg lose tonight, the same two teams will square off again on Tuesday in a winner-take-all game.

The Cambria League originally thought that it would have another team in the regionals, a total of three teams, based on Sectional Director Mike Hogan telling the organization that scenario prior to the start of the local playoffs.

On Thursday, a day into the local playoffs, Regional Director Rob Murphy notified the Cambria League that he had reversed Hogan’s decision and was going to allow just host Somerset and the winner to be in the playoffs.

Cambria League President Randy Choby of Patton has written letters of protest to both Murphy and State Director Skip Carnes.

At issue are two conflicting legion rules about how many teams can represent a league at regionals.

“The reason this happened with the gentleman who was the region director last year, Jim McKee, passed away in February,” Choby said. “He stated that Cambria deserved to have three teams in the regional.”

Choby said the changing of the original decision in mid-playoffs was the biggest problem.

“Patton set up its strategy and pitching to make the regional rather than win the league,” Choby said. “Obviously, when you find out after the playoffs have started, it raises your frustration level because they changed the rules in midstream.”

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