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Rebel upset bid goes South

April 04, 1999|By MARK KELLER

The South Hagerstown baseball team could have been content where it was, earning a moral victory in a close loss to South Carroll, one of Maryland's top Class 3A teams.

The Rebels could have been content with that. Instead, they wanted a victory, period. And they set out to get it with a six-run sixth inning that gave them a two-run lead.

[cont. from sports page]

But when all was said and done, South had to settle for the moral victory as the Cavaliers scored three unearned runs in the top of the eighth to win 9-6 in the championship game of the William D. Byron VFW Post 1936 Invitational Easter Tournament at South on Saturday.

"I'm pleased with how we didn't quit," said South coach Greg Eversole. "We're going to be a fine ballclub. We still have some things to work on. But I have to be pleased with some of the things I saw here today."

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Tops on Eversole's list was how his team rallied from four runs down in the sixth inning to take a 6-4 lead, all with two outs.

The No. 10 Rebels (3-2) struggled to catch up with South Carroll starter Kevin Damiano all day, managing just four hits in five innings against the left-hander. But when Damiano was pulled because of a high pitch count to begin the sixth, South took advantage.

Reliever Chris Hinton walked pinch-hitter Dustin Short with one out. After Matt Jenkins flied out, Troy Butts and Jon Showe singled, with Showe's hit driving in Short. Butts scored on a wild pitch before Heth Troncatti walked. Chris Henson was hit by a pitch and Frank Linton reached on an error, scoring Showe.

Jason Tourangeau replaced Hinton and walked P.J. Hiser to bring in Troncatti with the tying run. Matt Mauriello hit a grounder between the legs of shortstop Danny Tompkins to plate Henson and Linton for a 6-4 South lead.

But the Cavaliers struck back in the top of the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Damiano and an RBI single by Ben Carr.

South nearly put the game away in the bottom of the inning. But with two runners on and one out, Tourangeau struck out Troncatti, and Chris Henson's line drive was snagged by Hinton at second base to end the threat.

"You take Chris Henson's line drive a foot either way and we win," Eversole said. "But they're a strong team. What that does is give our kids confidence that we're a good ballclub, and we need that confidence to play in the MVAL. That's what I'm tickled with today."

* Earlier, South beat Clear Spring 11-5, and No. 4 Mercersburg Academy dropped a pair of games: 13-2 to South Carroll and 4-2 to Clear Spring.

Clear Spring jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first against South. But the Rebels took control in the bottom of the inning, getting six straight singles on their way to a 5-3 lead.

South extended the lead to 9-3 through three innings. Clear Spring cut the deficit to 9-5 in the fourth, but Troncatti came on to retire the final 10 Blazers and earn the win.

Henson, Linton and Schnebly each had three hits for the Rebels. Jimmy Sanders had two hits for Clear Spring (3-3).

After giving up back-to-back doubles to begin the game against Mercersburg, Clear Spring's Barry Smoot retired the next 11 batters and did not surrender another hit.

"We've been depending on Barry," said Clear Spring coach Jim Hutson. "We liken him to our little Greg Maddux. He doesn't strike a lot of guys out, but he doesn't let them hit the ball hard either."

But the Blazers (3-3) didn't make it easy for Smoot, getting just three hits off Mercersburg's Heath Vink.

"We shot ourselves in the foot a couple times ... had bases loaded and no outs and couldn't score and got a lucky run on a fielder's choice," said Hutson. "But we'll take it. I'm glad to come out of here with a split."

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