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Kelly takes control as HJC downs Essex for tournament bid

May 06, 1998|By JACK HILL III

Good pitchers and real estate agents have one thing in common.

When it comes to home, location is everything.

--cont. from front page--

Home plate was the prime property of pitcher Jason Kelly, who fired a three-hitter with 11 strikeouts for seven innings Tuesday to lead Hagerstown Junior College to a 5-3 victory over Essex in the Region XX Division I play-in game.

"I just wanted to go out and hit the spots," Kelly said. "I wanted to keep the ball away from the middle of the plate and hit the corners. I was mixing up my speeds. I started to get into a groove in about the third inning."

With the victory, the Hawks (19-13) qualify for the Region XX baseball tournament, which will be played at HJC this weekend. HJC faces Allegany Friday at 1 p.m. in the first round of the double-elimination tournament.

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"Jason Kelly was awesome," HJC coach Carl Dixon said. "There is no other way to put it. He had command of his pitches. He threw all three of his pitches for strikes and nothing hit the middle of the plate."

Kelly allowed one earned run before turning the game over to Chad Secrest in the eighth. Secrest closed out the game by striking out three in the final two innings and working out a jam in the ninth.

Essex had runners at second and third with two outs, but Secrest struck out Radames Lopez to seal the victory.

While Kelly was controling the Essex lineup, the Hawks took advantage of the Black Knights' shaky play to build an early lead.

HJC scored twice in the first with the help of four walks and four passed balls.

"We gave the game away," Essex coach George Henderson said. "They took advantage of our mistakes. We had a lot of passed balls. We took a lot of good pitches at the plate."

The Hawks took a 3-0 lead in the third when Todd Parker scored from second on another passed ball.

Essex (16-16) reduced the deficit to 3-2 in the seventh on a two-run single by Kevin Davis.

The Hawks countered with two runs in the seventh on RBI singles by Ted Ola and Dan Keister to regain the three-run lead.

"In the seventh inning, Ola and Keister, our 1-2 hitters, stepped up and got the key RBI hits when we needed them," Dixon said.

The Black Knights got their final run in the eighth on an RBI single by Rusty Miller.

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