By Phil Anastasia
Clearview senior Dave Young delivered the game's biggest hit in a 12-2 victory over GCIT on Wednesday.
But that wasn't what most impressed GCIT coach John Marcucci.
"That kid is the epitome of a leader," Marcucci said of Young. "In the field, you hear him talking to his outfielders and infielders on every pitch. In the dugout, you hear him talking to the other hitters.
"He's such a sparkplug."
Young made the most noise with his bat, rapping a two-out, three-run triple into the gap in left-center field in the second inning to send the Pioneers on their way to an important victory in a Tri-County Royal game that was shortened to six innings.
Clearview (13-8, 8-3) can clinch a share of the division title with a win over Highland on Friday. Delsea already has finished Royal play with a 9-3 record, and Williamstown can finish 9-3 as well.
But a slice of the crown would be something sweet for the Pioneers, who never have won a division title in 21 seasons under coach Rocco Cornacchia.
"We've finished second seven times," Cornacchia said. "It would be a big deal for me and for the guys. We'd love to win the conference and take that momentum into the state tournament."
Junior pitcher Alex Hochberg got the pitching win. He worked five innings, allowing two runs on six hits.
Senior catcher McCabe Reim collected two hits and two RBIs, and senior first baseman Paul Rucci reached base four times and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly for Clearview.
Five errors and eight walks hurt GCIT (10-9, 5-7).
"Give Clearview credit," Marcucci said. "They are a solid team, well-coached, and they took advantage of our mistakes."
Young, who has signed with Lehigh, is a top hitter with 23 RBIs with seven doubles and two homers. He also is 3-2 on the mound with two saves and a 2.21 ERA.
Young said the Pioneers have taken their game to another level in May. They are 7-3 in the month, knocking off rivals Delsea and Williamstown and capturing the Lee Ware tournament in May.
"With having a lot of seniors on the team, we saw this was the end for us," Young said. "We didn't want to go out with nothing. We wanted to have lasting memories of Clearview, great memories of this team.
"So we've bonded together better and played together better and focused on winning."
Clearview sent nine batters to the plate in the second, eight in the third and 10 in the sixth. The bottom of the lineup was productive as George Kerasinis, Tyler Cassidy, Brett Milden and Jake Drozd combined to reach base 10 times and score nine runs.
After a 3-4 overall start and a 2-2 start in Tri-County Royal play, the Pioneers will take the field on Friday with a chance to capture a share of the division crown.
"If we can pull it out, it will be the biggest win of my high school career," Young said.
Clearview 043 104 -- 12 8 0
GCIT 000 020 -- 2 6 5
WP: Alex Hochberg. LP: Tom Kleinhans.
2B: C-Dave Young.