Keller shuts down Warriors to lift Rebels

April 07, 2000|By AL DITZEL

Proving that even slugfests are decided by some pitching, South Hagerstown rallied past Boonsboro 13-9 Thursday in a Monocacy Valley Athletic League game as sophomore Nick Keller pitched 2 2/3 innings of shutout relief.

"Did you see (Keller) when he took the ball?'' South coach Greg Eversole asked. "He had a smile on his face. He wanted the baseball.''

Yeah, underclassmen often want the baseball but they usually don't know what to do with it. Keller (1-0) has a clue.

"My curveball was working really well today,'' the left-hander said. "I just wanted to throw strikes, keep the ball on the ground and let my defense take care of it.''


Keller had an added advantage against Boonsboro because the Warriors have five lefties in their lineup.

"Well, I think he has that closer's mentality,'' Ebersole said. "He's Cool Hand Luke. He told me he dreamt about this in first period today and had it all worked out.''

Well, Keller probably didn't figure it exactly as it turned out Thursday. He entered the 7-7 game with two runners on and one out in the fifth inning. He promptly walked the first batter he faced to load the bases and then gave up a two-run double to John Quail. Then, after walking another batter to reload the bases, he fanned Kevin Roy, who had hit a three-run home run in the second inning.

"We didn't come into the season thinking (Keller) would be our closer,'' Eversole said. "Our starting pitchers don't go the distance. Because we only have one game this week, we were able to execute a gameplan. We started (Matt) Belin, and then we came with (Danny) Fowler. (Fowler) was going to the closer because he throws the ball so hard. Now we're looking at him as one of our starters. Then, we wanted to come with Keller.''

Belin never got out of the inning, giving up two runs before Fowler took the baseball. He went as long as he could before giving way to Keller.

Keller, as most pitchers, needed a little help from his offense to get the victory.

"We hit the ball really well today,'' Keller said. "I'm proud of how the guys came back.''

Trailing 9-7 in the fifth inning, South (2-3, 2-3) put up a five-spot as Danny Fowler and Bryan Haupt delivered two-run singles. South batted around in the fifth with six hits.

Chris Henson, who had three hits, added an RBI single in the sixth to close the scoring. South erased the 2-0 lead Boonsboro took in the top of the first inning with four runs in the bottom of the first as Walter Drill belted a three-run homer.

Boonsboro (1-4) retook the lead in the second inning scoring five runs keyed by Roy's homer.

"This was a typical Boonsboro-South baseball game - back and forth,'' Eversole said. "I'm just glad to be on the 13 end of it this time.''

S. Hagerstown 13, Boonsboro 9


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Semler, Malott (5) and Bussard; Belin, Fowler (1), Keller (5) and Showe; WP - Keller (1-0); LP - Semler (0-3); HR - B: Roy (2nd, two on); S: Drill (1st, one on).

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