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Column: Thank You Clarion Baseball

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Thank you Clarion baseball!

(Cover photo: Juniors Spencer Miller (left) and Cam Craig hanging out in front of the Clarion dugout before the start of the PIAA Class 1A title game Thursday)
That seems to be the most appropriate response even following the Bobcats 2-0 loss to Meyersdale in the PIAA Class 1A championship game Thursday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on the campus of Penn State University.
Thank you for the memories. Thank your for the excitement. Thank your for the kindness. Thank you for showing us what high school sports is all about.
No, this Bobcats team wasn’t the most talented, the biggest or even the favorite. But it was a team.
A team that cared about one another and a team that cared about its coaches and its community.
It was a team that will forever go down in the laurels of not only Clarion High School but Clarion County.
The first baseball team in both the school’s history and the county’s history to advance to the PIAA playoffs. A team that will be remembered forever.
And there will be some moments that stick out 20 years from now, 30 years from now when Reed and Ryan Anthony are sitting around the Christmas table with their families, and Spencer Miller calls Dominic Fleming and Cam Craig sees Kyle Patterson at the County Seat – I am just betting the County Seat isn’t going anywhere.
One of those memories will be the PIAA state semifinals.
For historical purposes, the date was June 12, 2017.
For memory purposes, it was the day Reed Anthony went toe-to-toe with Neal McDermott of Greensburg Central Catholic matching the Centurions ace pitch-for-pitch for six innings and then finding a way to win the game in the bottom of the seventh after McDermott was no longer in the game when his chopper to third with Patterson at third couldn’t be handled.
The sight of Patterson leaping in the air as he crossed home plate, his helmet being tossed into the bright blue sky at North Allegheny High School seemingly never coming down will be etched in the minds of those there for years to come.
Maybe, when I am an old man, someone will come up to be and remind me of my somewhat embarrassing to me call of that play – although people tell me it caught the moment – of  CLARION IS HEADED TO STATE COLLEGE! CLARION IS HEADED TO STATE COLLEGE! CLARION IS HEADED TO THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!
Whatever your memory. Whatever your favorite moment of this season, this run is. It will be remembered forever. Because only a select few teams ever even get to play for a state championship – Clarion was just the eighth District 9 baseball to advance to a PIAA title game.
Sure first place is what every player, every coach, every media member of covered the run would have liked to have seen. But that runner-up finish is pretty special in itself. And one those players, those coaches should be proud of. A run that the entire town of Clarion, the entire county of Clarion should be proud of.