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Aug. 5, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Summer baseball leagues are entering its final stages with Penn State players enjoying continued success as they look to capture their respective league championships. Highlighting the field is rising sophomore outfielder Sean Deegan (Somerville, N.J.) and his Jersey Pilots, who won Game One of the best-of-three Wolff Division Championship Series, defeating junior pitcher Mike Pierce's (Stage College, Pa.) Lehigh Valley Catz on Tuesday.
Deegan is hitting .280 on the season with one home run and nine RBIs in 25 games (24 starts). Pierce has been a steady contributor for Lehigh, pitching 22.2 innings, fourth most on the team. The Valley Catz look to stave off elimination later Wednesday in Game Two of the series.
Sophomore pitcher Mike Franklin (Harleysville, Pa.) of the Quakertown Blazers has been a workhorse as well. His seven starts lead the team and 30.1 innings pitched stand second.
Rising sophomore star Jordan Steranka (Pittsburgh, Pa.) has bounced back from a tough start to put forward very impressive numbers for the Valley League's Winchester Royals. Through 42 games (36 started), he has four home runs and 29 RBIs which are both second on the team. He is hitting .255, which includes a team-leading 13 doubles. Steranka played a big role in his Royals advancing to the league semifinals on Tuesday as he drove in both runs with a two out double into the right centerfield gap to eliminate fourth seeded Woodstock, 2-1.
Meanwhile, sophomore catcher Ryan Clark's (Westerville, Ohio) summer with the Lake Erie Monarchs is highlighted by the team's appearance in the famous Midnight Sun Game on June 21 in Fairbanks, Alaska. With over 4,000 fans in attendance, the game started at 10:30 p.m. and continued past midnight under natural light to celebrate the summer solstice in Alaska. The Monarchs were invited by (and played against) the Alaska Goldpanners where they fell defeat by a 6-3 final. On the season, Clark has one home run and 14 RBIs (fourth on the team)..
Penn State is also represented in the Prospect League by senior infielder Jack Greenberg (Upper St. Clair, Pa.), who dons the Butler Blue-Sox uniform. Junior catcher Ben Heath (Huntersville, N.C.) started 15 games for the Martinsville Mustangs of the Coastal Plains League, while sophomore pitcher Drew Irsfeld (Eugene, Ore.) recently finished his season with a solid 3-2 record and 4.50 ERA after his Hawaii Allii's lost in the double elimination postseason tournament.
Incoming outfield transfer Heath Johnson (Alamogordo, N.M.) has been hitting for impressive power for the Coppell Copperheads of the Texas Collegiate League, leading his squad with 3 home runs and 26 RBIs.
Junior Catcher Bobby Jacobs (West Chester, Pa.) is also in action in the prestigious Alaska League for the Mat-Su Miners while senior pitcher Drew Palen (Scottsdale, Ariz.) owns a 2-1 record for the St. Cloud River Bats of the Northwoods League.
Check back to GoPSUsports.com for all baseball news as the Lions prepare for its 2010 campaign. Also, be sure to follow Penn State baseball on Twitter for updates on these players in summer leagues, and more.
Here is the complete list:
The Valley League: Jordan Steranka (Winchester Royals)
The Great Lakes League: Ryan Clark (Lake Erie Monarchs)
The Prospect League: Jack Greenberg (Butler Blue-Sox)
Coastal Plains League: Ben Heath (Martinsville Mustangs)
Hawaii Baseball League: Drew Irsfeld (Hawaii Alii's)
Texas Collegiate League: Heath Johnson (Coppell Copperheads)
Alaska League: Bobby Jacobs (Mat-Su Miners)
Northwoods League: Drew Palen (St. Cloud River Bats)