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Dad spurs rally

April 16, 1999|By DAN SPEARS

Father knows best. Especially Megan Andrews' father.

With Williamsport down 6-4 with two outs in the seventh inning and staring at a 1-2 count against South Hagerstown's Alison Higgs, Andrews stepped out of the batter's box and got some advice from her father, Mark, who was coaching at third base.

"He just said to take a couple of deep breaths and find a pitch you like," the senior first baseman said. "I took his advice."

Andrews worked the count full and then crushed Higgs' offering nearly onto Potomac Street for a three-run homer that won the game, 7-6.

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It capped a six-run rally in the final two innings for Williamsport (7-3, 5-3 Monocacy Valley Athletic League), which was locked up by Higgs for the first five innings.

"When we were down 6-1, even if we would have lost, I told them I'd still be proud of them," Williamsport coach Tom Dzur said. "But that was unbelievable."

Steph Ritchie hit a two-run homer for the Wildcats in the top half of the sixth to make the score 6-3 before the Rebels (3-5, 1-5) went for the knockout punch - and missed.

Ashley Herr, Higgs and Kelsi Waltemire all had base hits, with an Emily Middlekauff fielder's choice sandwiched in the middle. South scored no runs though, after three of them were narrowly thrown out trying to take an extra base.

"They were tough calls ... and three in a row at that," South coach Sabrina McCoy said with a shrug of her shoulders. "On those kinds of calls, the weight should be off the runner. That's my call. ... (But) you've got to forget that. I don't want them thinking about that, especially when we're still up."

The Rebels forgot, but the Wildcats kept the plays fresh in their minds.

"We like to call that baseball. We had the relays, we were throwing people out; we timed it perfectly," Dzur said. "That was just good baseball. I was real proud of them."

Higgs struck out the side in the second and fourth and finished with 10 overall. But she loaded the bases in the seventh, wild-pitched a run home and then filled the count on Andrews.

At that point, McCoy called a mound conference.

"I just told her to relax, and don't groove it. That's what I didn't want because Megan's a big hitter," McCoy said. "She had pitched a good game, and I didn't want to take her out. She's got to build that confidence and work her way through the tough times."

She didn't groove it - it was on the inside edge of the plate - but Andrews still had it heading for Friday's rush hour traffic.

South had one last chance, but the Rebels were on the wrong end of two more close calls before Shannon Smiles struck out Shilo Fletcher to end the game.

"They didn't hang their heads, and they still stuck with it," McCoy said. "It hurt. ... But there wasn't one player that didn't think we couldn't come back again. And that's what I want to see."

And Andrews saw the only thing she wanted to see - a victory.

"We were still strong today in the end," Andrews said. "That's when it counts."

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