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Knights win in (long) walk

April 09, 1999|By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - The Duracell people missed an ideal opportunity for an inexpensive TV commercial. The Williamsport-Middletown baseball game just kept going and going and going ...

After 3 hours and 4 minutes, the two teams treated their die-hard fans to a different sort of mercy rule, ending the contest after six complete innings with the Knights walking away with a 16-9 Monocacy Valley Athletic League victory.

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Walks were the main culprit, as the Wildcats issued 10 free passes - six in the six-run second inning - forcing three pitching changes.

"We probably had 10 or 12 walks today," said Williamsport coach Rod Steiner. "That's just too many against a team like (Middletown). But we have a young pitching staff. They'll come around."

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After taking a 1-0 lead in the first on Darin Gordon's lead-off double, a wild pitch, and a Brian Moore sacrifice fly, the bottom fell out for the Wildcats (3-4, 1-4). Starter Josh Berger walked three and gave up five runs before giving way to Chris Northcraft, who walked three more while being charged with the sixth run of the inning. Two of the Knights' runs scored on wild pitches, and a third on a passed ball.

Williamsport responded with four in the bottom of the second when a Tim Small single and walks to Matt Porac and Northcraft loaded the bases, before Brad Anders singled for the first run. Tim Ellis drove in two more with a single, putting runners on first and second. Ryan Grabill's sacrifice bunt put Anders and Ellis in scoring position before Les Martin's groundout to third made it 7-4.

Four Middletown singles in the third pushed three more runs across and forced Williamsport to relieve Northcraft with Nathaniel Roney, who proved the most effective of the Wildcats' hurlers, lasting three innings before tiring in the sixth.

"We did a much better job of hitting the ball today," said Knights coach Mike DeSimone. "We'll put the ball in play 80 per cent of the time, and with this nice infield, we got some rolls to go our way."

Another run in the fourth gave Middletown (4-2, 4-0) an 11-4 lead, but the Wildcats plated a pair in the bottom of the inning on the first of two Matt Bowman two-run doubles.

Two Williamsport errors handed the Knights a run in the fifth, and another error, two more walks and three singles made it 16-6 after five and a half innings.

But one-out singles from Grabill and Martin set the stage for Bowman's second two-RBI double, and Tim Small scored Bowman with a two-bagger to the base of the left-center field fence.

Bowman, Ellis and Small collected two hits apiece for the Wildcats, while Moore drove in four runs with two hits in two trips and a pair of sacrifice flies for Middletown.

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