Bill Byham (WOL File Photo)

Bill Byham (WOL File Photo)

There has been a lot of words written and said about the arrival of Mike Clark as the new head coach of the Lycoming College football Warriors.

A week ago I sat, with many others, in the bleachers to watch Clark take his team out against Gettysburg in a game scrimmage. His team showed several positive moments versus the Bullets but we all left  that stadium wondering just how Lycoming would fare versus 18th ranked Ithaca at the Bomber’s field this past weekend.

The records showed Ithaca with a winning record versus Lycoming. They were carrying a pre-season Top 25 ranking by D-3 football.com while Lycoming was unranked.  

In between the scrimmage and that first count game I am talking with friend Steve Wiser about non-football items but we both knew football talk would enter our conversation.

It did with my question of how Clark operated during the high scoring scrimmage.

“Bill, He is going to be a helluva head coach! “,said Wiser about Clark. “We will surprise some people.”

Lycoming lost to Ithaca by a point Saturday. In so doing they did surprise a lot of people and Clark got high grades for his game management despite the loss.

The Warriors now have an off day next Saturday but will open their home season versus long time rival Susquehanna on the 20th.  Every team, no matter their record, has games they really want to win.   Susquehanna is such a game for Lycoming.

THE CHRIS ALLEN STORY – Good fortune often rears its head when an individual just refuses to quit on a life time goal. DuBoistown’s Chris Allen has been a much talked about athlete almost all of his life. Through Little League and into high school he showed talent in baseball. He also played his way through youth basketball into the three levels of middle school and then three more years of high school ball with the South Williamsport Mounties. 

Through all of this period of time, Chris was not always my favorite performer. He just had his moments You know us old guys. We want the kid to give it all every time out. We want these kids to realize that their time is now and therefore they should play they way we feel they should play. Chris slipped below my line from time to time but I have always admired his talent and i have wanted him to make me a believer, a firm believer. 

His senior winter in a South basketball uniform was a time when the belief there big time. Chris could always shoot and in that season a pass to him in either corner increased the Mountie score by three points. Come baseball season he was at his very best as both a pitcher and a catcher. It go so I would make sure I got to Mountie games as he was pitching really tough but his catching was superb as he showed a maturity in handling pitchers and managing a game. He was carry a solid bat that produced hits, power hits.  Here comes his dream. Either college or maybe an introduction to pro ball. Therefore I was really pleased that Chris was headed to community college ball in Florida along with a pro promise. 

Here comes the obstacle. After a bright start comes arm misery. His community college ball comes apart. That same arm causes his a year of college eligibility but no progress toward his dream. That same arm goes with him to still another college campus. After a solid start and , while pitching to protect the arm, he comes up with an injured back. 

All of a sudden Chris is in his low 20’s. I wanted him to star, to realize some measure of his and time was now running out.  During the  summer I heard word that Chris is pitching in an independent professional baseball league known as the Frontier League.  He joined the ball club, the Southern Illinois Miners, on June 1st after Matt  Anderson, who lives in Loyalsock Twp and who has professional ball contacts had recommended him. That recommendation was due to the fact that Chris had demonstrated to Anderson his arm and back were healthy and deserved another chance. 

The Frontier League is a 12 team league and, if compared, would play the game at about a Long A level. The Miners were right at the top of their six team division. They had a four man starting rotation in Ryan Bird, Jeremy Dow, Chris Little and Brett Scarpetta. Along comes Chris Allen and quickly establishes himself. This past week the league finished its regular season with a Miners 8-3 win guided by Chris Allen who will enter the post season playoffs this week with a 6-2 record in 11 starts. He was carrying a 3.39 ERA over 61 innings pitched. He had allowed 63 base hits (no home runs), 27 runs (23 earned). He has 43 strike outs while walking 20. 

Says Mary Allen, “All Chris has ever wanted was to pitch pain free and on a winning team.”  Dad Jim Allen echoes those words.  I know I am happy for all of the Allens and especially for Chris for he is proving to me that his talent is performing at its highest level.

PENN COLLEGE GOLF – At their opener during the PSU Fayette Invitational, Lycoming won the match 3-0.  That score did not raise your eyebrows but maybe this will. For Penn College, coached by Chet Schuman, it took their five year record to 151-0! Holy Smoke! 

Penn College gets back on the course this week at White Deer as they host the Penn College Invitational.


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