The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

July 14, 2014

Rivals squaring off for Cambria County American Legion championship

Both Bedford and Claysburg have their tickets punched for the Pa. Region 7 tournament in Clearfield.

Tuesday, the clubs determine who enters this weekend’s tournament as the Cambria County American Legion League’s champion with a nine-inning, winner-take-all game in Claysburg.

The game is slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. at Claysburg-Kimmel High School.  

For Claysburg skipper Dave Aungst, the chance to match wits with Bedford manager Jordan Mills in a playoff setting is welcomed as the two continue a friendly rivalry.

“Jordan and I, we’ve spent some time playing together in the summer in a community-based charity softball tournament,” Aungst said. “We know each other very well. We’re great friends off the field and (there’s) nothing we like more than (to) give each other a beating on the field. It’s a great rivalry, but a friendly rivalry at the same time.”

That isn’t to say that the managers are the only ones feeling respect for the opposition going into Tuesday’s clash.

“We had some games with (Bedford) this year that got a little tense,” Aungst said. “But there is a mutual respect. You always have your times where kids are kids and there are times where there are some blowups and unforseen things, but for the most part there’s a lot of good friendships and some of our guys and some of their guys play together on AAABA teams so we know each other very well.” 

Both teams reached the final by sweeping their way through the previous rounds. Claysburg – as the league’s top seed – bounced Cernic’s in the quarterfinals and Patton in the semifinals, playing a pair of mercy-rule shortened games against the Redmen.

Bedford marched through Lilly and St. Michael in their path to the final, though the semifinal series against the Saints created drama on back-to-back days, winning Game 2 in extra innings.

In a one-off game against a rival with a championship on the line, recent playoff happenings may not be the chief concern.  

“I think it comes down to pitching and deep lineups from both teams,” Mills said. “I think it’s going to be a good game ... A good pitching duel.” 

Claysburg won three of the four meetings between the two clubs with wins on June 25 (1-0), July 5 (10-2) and July 6 (2-0).

The Hurricanes’ lone win in the series came at Claysburg in a 12-10 slugfest on June 29.

“I see that they’re pretty deep with their pitching and their relief,” Mills said. “They have a deep lineup that can keep them in games no matter what circumstances that they’re under. They’re a really good fielding team and very well coached.” 

 

Shawn Curtis is the sports editor of The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @shawncurtis430.

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