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Colt team hits self into final

August 01, 1999|By DAN KAUFFMAN

Some teams play better with their backs squarely against a brick wall.

Hagerstown "A" didn't play better. They played much better.

Having to survive two elimination games on Saturday at Hellane Park, Hagerstown flourished, eliminating Anne Arundel 13-5, then sending Cincinnati to the same fate with a 15-2 win that night in six innings at the Regional Colt Tournament.

The combined 28 runs come a day after losing 7-2 to Washington, Pa. ... the team Hagerstown meets at 2 today for the title.

"They knew they had to win, and they knew they had to get up there and swing the bats to hit the ball and score runs," Hagerstown manager Duane Myers said. "That's what they did these two games today."

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Hagerstown scored nine unearned runs in the first three innings against Anne Arundel to take a 9-2 lead. Chris Henson's fourth inning, three-run homer were the first three runs earned.

"We weren't swinging the bats last night, so we got on them ... and they came out swinging," Myers said.

In the evening game, Preston Semler got Hagerstown on the board against Cincinnati with a towering homer onto the basketball courts to lead off the second.

"By the time I got to first ... I had a pretty good idea when I saw it bounce on the pavement," Semler said.

Hagerstown scored two more runs in the inning for a 3-0 lead, and took a 5-1 lead in the third on a sacrifice fly and Semler's second solo shot, this one a rocket into a tree down the left field line.

Joe McGhee held Cincinnati to six hits and two runs while striking out 10 in five innings.

"He has a good fastball, and he's got that sink curve," Myers said. "He's an excellent pitcher."

"I was just seeing the ball tonight," Semler said. "I haven't been seeing the ball all year, and I guess tonight, it just came to me."

"He wasn't really hitting the ball well (in the regular season)," Myers said. "Today ... he had five hits (in the two games), and he really came alive."

Hagerstown opened up the game late, scoring five runs in both the fifth and sixth innings on seven hits and three errors to end Cincinnati's season.

"They went out there and played their hardest and played their best," Myers said. "I'm really proud of them."

Hagerstown will need to win two games today against Washington to take the Regional crown. "Washington is gonna be tough, they've got a lot of good players," Semler said. "We just need to come in here and play as a team, and we'll be alright."

"We are gonna play two games tomorrow," Myers confidently added. "We will play two games tomorrow."

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