Somerset manager Bob Hay has said all season that the only way his squad can win the Cambria County League title is with a total team effort.
“This is my deepest team that I’ve had in 12 years here,” Hay said after his team’s win over Claysburg last week.
“We have 18 guys that can play and they all check their egos at the door because we can only put nine or 10 if I have a DH (designated hitter) in the starting lineup. We all kind of bought in from the beginning that it was going to take all 18 to go where we need to go and so far so good. It has worked out.”
The Post 181 Somerset squad is unbeaten at 18-0 and currently sits atop the standings in the 12-team Cambria County League with Claysburg just behind.
The Blair County squad has two losses, both courtesy of Somerset, and is second in the standings at 17-2. Both squads have clinched playoff positions.
Regular-season finale: Eight teams make the postseason, which are set to begin either July 8 or 9.
According to the league’s standings on Saturday, after Somerset and Claysburg are Patton, Bedford, Cernic’s, Ebensburg, Stoystown, Lilly and Meyersdale.
The league will play double-defeat elimination in the postseason with 1 versus 8, 2 against 7, 3 taking on 6 and 4 versus 5, with the higher seeds hosting.
In the next round, 1 is set to face 4, 2 is against 3, 8 is at 5 and 6 at 7.
“This is the first time that we’ve tried this format,” St. Michael manager Denny Gramling said. “We are trying to shorten the playoffs so teams don’t use up their good pitchers. There are less games to the championship.”
The league has to determine its winners by July 18. Two teams from the Cambria County League advance to the Region 7 Tournament, which is set for July 21-25 in Latrobe, utilizing fields at the host site and in Derry.
Top of the heap: The Cambria County League sent out its statistical leaders at the end of June and not surprisingly, most of the top spots are held by players from the league-leading teams.
In batting average, Claysburg’s Logan Stern (.640), Patton’s Dylan Corl (.564) and Richland’s Cameron Kaminsky (.536) hold the top spots while the runs batted in leaders are Jake Nickelson of Somerset (24), Brandon Crawford of Patton (21) and Drew Hemminger of Somerset (19).
On the mound, the leading pitchers as far as earned run average are Brent Barron of Somerset (0.39), Bobby Varner of Richland (1.47) and Trey Claar of Claysburg (1.75) but the winningest pitchers are Robert Swope of Claysburg with five and Andrew Brawley of Patton with four.
The strikeout leaders include Brady Wright of St. Michael (31), Nathan Bearer of Patton (29) and Claysburg’s Robert Swope (26).