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Young talent coming to the forefront for Jurek Post 1672

CLARENCE - With a lot of talent and a very young team, the future seems bright for the American Legion Jurek Post 1672 baseball team. But doesn’t mean the present can’t be strong as well.

“We’ve only got a few guys that are going to graduate,” coach Michael Brown said after a double-header split with rival Lamm at the Northtown Center. “We’re a young team and if we’re this good when we’re this young, we ought to be even stronger next year. So we’re in good shape.”

A year ago, the team posted an impressive 25-8 record and reached the state quarterfinals but lost a number of key players to graduation.

This season, however, the success has continues. Jurek had six victories in its first nine games against North Division competition and sat in second place a game out of first place.

The bulk of the team comes from Clarence, Williamsville North and Williamsville East.

Three members of Clarence High School’s Class AA state runner-up baseball team headline the roster for Jurek. Second baseman Bryan Jost, pitcher Ryan Jelonek and catcher Alex McGlue are a big part of the Teal’s plans this summer before attempting to get the Red Devils a fifth sectional title in six years next spring.

Jelonek is one of three left-handed pitchers on Jurek’s strong pitching staff along with Nate Rarick of Christian Central Academy and Drew Borowski, who moved to the area after playing for Warsaw High School.

Starpoint’s Austin Speaker is one of the Teal’s strong right-handed pitchers.

“Having three lefties is nice,” Brown said. “We’ve got about 10 strong pitchers.”

Jost, the No. 2 hitter in Clarence’s lineup as a junior, is a part of a Jurek lineup that also includes Williamsville East standout Tom Styn and some big bats from Williamsville North. Eric Benshadle, P.J. Mistretta and Zach Thomas are the Spartans enjoying a strong summer.

Perhaps the most intriguing player on the roster is infielder Duke Hwuang, who recently completed his sophomore year at Williamsville North but has already shown he can compete against high school graduates.

“He’s just a sophomore but he can really hit the ball,” Brown said.

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