Pioneers win JPC title with 13-1 record

May 25, 2017

By Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

2017 Clare Baseball Team celebrate their winning title.

2017 Clare Baseball Team celebrate their winning title.

The second ranked Clare baseball team can now call themselves the outright Jack Pine Conference champions. The Pioneers narrowly topped the host Bucks 4-3 in the opener and had a much easier time in game two, 12-1 in a five inning mercy.

“It was a great day for the kids to wrap up the outright conference title,” head coach Skeet Colosky said. “The kids played well and overcame some unforeseen circumstances.”

The 13-1 league record gives the Pioneers their first outright league crown since 2012, having had to share it last year with Meridian.

Gabe Denton was the winner in the opener as he pitched three innings and gave up one run on two hits.

Clare’s Tanner Punches fires in a pitch during last  Thursday’s Jack Pine Conference clinching wins at Roscommon.

Clare’s Tanner Punches fires in a pitch during last
Thursday’s Jack Pine Conference clinching wins at Roscommon.

Tanner Punches pitched three innings as well and gave up one run on two hits, one strikeout and two walks and Tucker Roe pitched one inning to get the save.

The offense was led by Travis Vida with two hits, Roe smacked a double and Denton, Jeff Allen and Cole Keene added one single apiece.

Getting the win in game two was Ryan Adkins, he tossed five innings and gave up one run on three hits, five strikeouts and three walks.

Allen had a big game with a triple and a double with Vida, Keene, Brennan Farrell and Tyler Smith adding singles as well.

On Saturday, Clare played at the Glen Lake Invitational. The Pioneers won two close games, 3-0 over Glen Lake and 5-4 in nine innings over Rogers City in the championship game.

“In the first game we played well all-around and Allen pitched well in the win,” Colosky said. “The second game we made some uncharacteristic mistakes but found a way to win. Both Vida and Smith pitched well in the win.”

In the opening round win over Glen Lake, Allen pitched a one-hit shutout for the win. He struck out six and walked one.

Alen also had two hits and two RBI on offense, Roe had one hit and one RBI and Tyler Rodenbo also singled.

In the finals, Clare jumped to a 3-0 lead against the Hurons but Rogers City responded to take a 4-3 edge in the fourth and it was tied at four after five.
It stayed tied until the ninth inning, where Allen hit in the game-winning run on an error.

Tyler Smith tags out a base runner at third base.

Tyler Smith tags out a base runner at third base.

Vida pitched the first eight innings before reaching his pitch count limit, giving up four earned runs on five hits, eight strikeouts and one. Smith pitched a scoreless inning in the ninth to get the win, allowing one hit.

On offense, Denton had a double, single, two runs and one walk, Smith had a single and an RBI, Allen had two RBI, Roe scored two runs and Tyler Fremin also scored a run.

Clare plays in the Meridian district June 3.

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