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Greencastle falls short in Pa. state baseball final

June 19, 2000|By AL DITZEL

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Greencastle-Antrim baseball coach Chris Sellers said he kidded around with his school's fans down the left field line before Monday's PIAA Class AA championship game against Huntingdon Area at RiverSide Stadium in City Island Park.

cont. from sports page

"I told them that we would put on a show for them,'' Sellers said. "Win or lose, we'd give them a good show.''

The Blue Devils, winners of District 3, began the show by scoring three runs in the top of the first inning, then chipped away at a six-run deficit before succumbing to a 9-7 decision to the District 6 champions.

Greencastle (23-6) put on a good show. In fact, the Blue Devils narrowly missed making the game even closer. Trailing 9-6 in the sixth inning, Greencastle strung together three straight singles - the last by Brad Fitz into right field - and Tony Showalter tried to score from second base. Huntingdon right fielder Jimmy Burkey uncorked a one-hop throw to the plate to cut down Showalter.

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"That took some steam out of us,'' said Greencastle left fielder Derrick Hulock, who had three hits and reached base four times in the game. "I was on deck (waving the runner to slide) and I was just hoping (Showalter) would beat the throw in. It was a good throw.''

"That's the way we play the game,'' Sellers said. "We're an aggressive team. Hey, I'd be just like everyone else up there questioning what we were doing on the play, but I'd probably do it again.''

Greencastle, after Hulock was hit by a pitch to load the bases, scored one more run when Ty Christman ripped a single to left. The ball was hit too hard to score any more runs on the play.

Winning pitcher Paul Kozak got Dave Izer to pop out to end the sixth-inning threat.

Greencastle took a 3-0 lead in the first inning on four singles and two Huntingdon errors. The state champs came right back scoring six runs in the bottom of the first as the Blue Devils committed two errors of their own.

"I don't know what happened with our defense,'' Hulock said. "One minute, we're feeling pretty good about ourselves (3-0 lead) and the next, we're wondering what we're doing.''

Brad Fitz, Greencastle's 10-game winner, never got untracked and was taken out with a runner on base in the third.

"When a guy does that much for you, you give him every opportunity to do the job,'' Sellers said. "(Fitz) never got on track and you have to credit Huntingdon with that.''

Huntingdon added three more runs in the third inning - one against Fitz and two more against reliever Jesse Main - for a 9-3 lead.

"We tried to chip away at them,'' Hulock said. "We just didn't chip enough.''

Greencastle scored twice in the fourth inning as Jeremy Barnes singled home one run and Fitz knocked in another run with an infielder out.

Hulock and Christman belted back-to-back doubles in the fifth inning for another run before the sixth-inning rally.

"We've been playing baseball together since we were 10, 12-years old,'' Hulock said. "They're all my best friends. We had a great run.''

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