Jack Clark believes he is most effective as a pitcher coming out of the bullpen, but it remains to be seen whether the Upper Arlington High School graduate will be used in that role for Case Western Reserve University.

Jack Clark believes he is most effective as a pitcher coming out of the bullpen, but it remains to be seen whether the Upper Arlington High School graduate will be used in that role for Case Western Reserve University.

All 14 of Clark's appearances with UA last spring were in relief, and he usually was called on to close out a game. He posted a 2-1 record with a team-best eight saves and had a 1.78 ERA -- second-lowest among Golden Bears pitchers who had thrown more than two innings -- with 23 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings.

But this summer Clark will be spending most, if not all, of his time on the mound for the Northwest American Legion Post 443 baseball team as a starter.

"I talked with (Case Western coach Matt Englander) and they're looking at him possibly as a starter," said Post 443 coach Todd Pfeil, whose team was 2-10 overall and 2-5 in District 12 before playing Dublin (Scioto) Post 800S last Tuesday. "They would like to get his arm lengthened, so we will try to strengthen and lengthen his arm."

As of last Monday, Clark had made just one start for Post 443, allowing three earned runs in 3 2/3 innings in a 5-0 loss to Hilliard (Darby) Post 614C on June 11.

"I started a little bit last year during varsity season and last summer (with Post 443) all seven of my appearances were starts, but I've done better in relief," Clark said. "It's a different mindset. When you close, you put all your energy into that one inning. But when you start, it's more of a marathon. And when you get tired, you make more mistakes. It's a lot easier to stay mechanically sound when you only have to throw one inning.

"Based on the experience that I've had, I've had more success as a closer. But I'll do whatever helps the team."

Pfeil believes the more versatile Clark is as a pitcher, the better.

"The more things you can do, the more valuable you are," Pfeil said. "If you can close, start and do middle relief, it's like (the college programs) are getting three pitchers."

Clark also could get playing time as a first baseman or designated hitter at Case Western, a Division III school in Cleveland and a member of the University Athletic Association. Last spring for the Bears, he had a .355 batting average with a team-high 25 RBI, 16 runs and two home runs.

Through 12 games with Post 443, he was hitting .348 with a team-high eight RBI, five runs and one home run and was batting .875 with runners in scoring position.

"He's doing a great job hitting-wise," Pfeil said. "Like I said, the more positions you can play, the more valuable you are."

Clark, who also was recruited by Denison and Oberlin, is the only graduate playing for Post 443. He turned down opportunities to play for a travel team so that he could play with his younger brother, Sam, a junior who also is a pitcher and first baseman.

"It's been really fun," Clark said. "It's awesome to be on the same team with him. We haven't played together since grade school."

•GOOD HITTING CARRIES OVER -- Justin Ping was among the top hitters for UA last spring and he's been one of the top hitters for Post 443 so far. Through 12 games, the senior outfielder and catcher was batting .472 -- first among Post 443 hitters with 20 or more at-bats -- with four RBI and seven runs.

"He's playing extremely well," Pfeil said. "He's our No. 2 hitter and he has a great approach at the plate. He's using the whole field."

Last spring with the Bears, Ping hit .300 with five RBI and seven runs.

•TOUGH START -- Post 443 entered its game last Tuesday looking to end an eight-game losing streak.

Northwest went 0-4 in the Gregg Nischwitz Memorial Tournament held last Friday through last Sunday in Dayton. It lost to Ohio Heat 7-3 and to Team Worth 4-0 last Friday and to Northern Ohio 6-1 and Greenville (S.C.) Technical College 9-0 last Saturday. It failed to advance to play last Sunday.

"It's a learning experience," Pfeil said of his team facing travel teams and a college team in the Nischwitz tournament. "We played a tough schedule (last) weekend. You always want to face good competition. Hopefully, we can learn from that."

Post 443, which played Hilliard (Davidson) Post 614A last Wednesday, plays host to its annual Slugfest tournament Friday through Monday before playing host to Dublin (Coffman) Post 800C in a non-league game Tuesday.

Northwest lost to Columbus (Watterson) Post 82 2-1 on June 17.