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Prep Notes - Blazers chalk one up to experience

April 13, 2001

Prep Notes - Blazers chalk one up to experience



High school players will do anything that imitates a major leaguer: wear the same kind of shoes, adopt their batting stance, whatever.

The Clear Spring baseball team adopted another major league tradition this week, one the Blazers never thought they'd have to follow.

Following the death of classmate Patrick Dayley, Clear Spring players scratched his initials into their caps with chalk before Monday's game against Southern Fulton, then dedicated their season to the senior who was killed in a one-car accident last Friday.

"I just kinda came up with it," senior captain Justin Michael said. "I saw it in the majors where they put a player's number on their hat or whatever, but Patrick wasn't on the team, so we put his initials on there."

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"Justin just walked in with a box of chalk," said junior Cory Bishop, who was a close friend of Dayley's younger brother, Carl. "He said we should do it in memory of him."

Dayley had played with many of Clear Spring's players through Little League and Senior League, but did not play on the high school level. Still, his passing last weekend sent rumbles through a team full of classmates.

"I was proud to see they had the initiative to do this," coach Jim Hutson said. "They had known him as a teammate. We talked about (the dedication) in the pregame. To do this showed a lot of maturity."

It almost seemed as if the Blazers played with divine intervention that afternoon, as they hit two grand slams and three homers in all to beat the Indians by an astonishing 26-0 score.

Afterward, most of the players went directly to Dayley's wake, dirt and sweat from the diamond fresh on their uniforms.

"At the viewing, that was the first time some people met his parents," Bishop said. "We just wanted to let them know about the baseball team thinking of them. We thought that was the nice thing to do. That was a good feeling."

Making their pitch



Technically, the Middletown softball team had its first loss of the season Tuesday against archrival Walkersville. In reality, the Knights had already rebounded from a huge loss, when ace pitcher Megan Pilarcik broke her leg on April 2 at Smithsburg.

"It was a big downer for a couple of days," coach Charlie Toms said. "But we've got good depth, and the pitching depth will get us through this without really being killed."

Andrea Riner is 2-1 while taking over as the No. 1 starter for Pilarcik, who could return for the postseason.

However, the Knights have been hitting the ball so hard, it hasn't really mattered who was on the mound. Before the 3-0 loss to the Lions, Middletown averaged 12 runs per game in a 6-0 start.

"I have no clue why the bats went silent. We had been hitting the ball, and we played FSK, who has some good pitching, and scored nine runs," Toms said. "Suddenly somebody left the bats at home.

"But we haven't lowered the bar at all. It simply means there's one less person to help us get to that level that we want. We've got goals, and that's still the playoffs."

Oh what a relief it is ...



If the Greencastle baseball team wants a repeat trip to the Class AA title game, coach Chris Sellers knows things won't always go as planned.

So Saturday, in his team's biggest non-conference game of the season against Waynesboro, Sellers unveiled his new attack - Brad Fitz, closer.

Yes, the same Brad Fitz who had struck out 16 earlier in the week in a complete game win over James Buchanan.

"He needed the work. You don't pitch him and he gets too strong," Sellers said after Fitz gave up the tying runs, but was bailed out for a 7-4 victory over the Indians. "He was supposed to throw (Friday vs. Camp Hill in a postponed game)."

Fitz's first inning of relief was rocky for plenty of reasons: a brisk wind kept temperatures down, an extended at-bat the inning before limited his warm-up tosses and the Indians were desperate.

"That first inning, he didn't have it," Sellers said. "But by the seventh, you could see he had it all going again."

Enough to set down the Indians 1-2-3 and pick up his second win of the season. Two days later against Biglerville, he came on in relief again, and the Blue Devils stayed undefeated with a come-from-behind 6-5 victory. In three relief appearances this season, Fitz is 2-0 with a save.

"It's all part of the game," Sellers said. "We want to get him in there."

Around the horn



South Hagerstown's Alison Higgs has two no-hitters and a one-hitter - and is only 2-1 in those games. The very young Rebels have committed 15 errors in their two losses. ... The Frederick softball team has the same operative, and the same disasters. Back-to-back losses last week came in big part because of a combined 15 errors. ... Because of rainouts and postponements, Boonsboro ace Chris Wright has started four of the Warriors' first five games. The only problem is that they have three makeups already on the schedule. ... Martinsburg softball pitchers have given up one walk in 39 innings this season.

This week's notebook compiled by staff writer Dan Spears. He can be reached at dans@herald-mail.com or 301-733-5131 ext. 2334.

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