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Knights take North's giveaway

April 27, 2001

Knights take North's giveaway



By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Heath Brown gets back to the bag

Photo: JOE CROCETTA

staff photographer

Middletown 6

No. 10 North 2

Middletown3010002-6111

N. Hagerstown0200010-153

Brandenburg and Jennings; Bellon, Schildt (6) and Long. WP - Brandenburg (1-0). LP - Bellon (2-2).



There's giving a team three outs and then there's giving a team three outs.

The North Hagerstown baseball team got the concept confused on Thursday.

Some faulty fielding in the first inning gave Middletown more than ample opportunity to get the early lead. The Hubs followed by giving outs away on the basepaths like free samples in a grocery store aisle, all leading up to a 6-2 Monocacy Valley Athletic League loss to the Knights.

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"We preach that you have to play defense and only give the other team three outs per inning," said North Hagerstown coach Shawn Reynolds said. "Especially in high school baseball. In high school baseball, it is all pitching and defense."

North's lapses behind Matt Bellon in the first provided Middletown a 3-0 lead, keyed by Eric Russell's two-out, two run triple. Middletown's heads-up play in the sixth helped it protect a 4-2 lead with an unorthodox double play to end a bases-loaded situation when the Hubs decided to wander around instead of run the bases.

The Hubs (6-7, 4-7), with an errant throw by Sam Watters back to Bellon after a pickoff try at first, allowed Ryan McQuillen to advance to second when third baseman Aaron Davis didn't back up the play. It allowed Ryan Fritz to hit a two-out single with a runner in scoring position followed by Brown's triple for a 3-0 lead.

Will Brandenburg controlled the Hubs for the most part, but North made it 3-1 in the second when Paul Berry led off with a single and eventually scored when left fielder Chris Rhoades misplayed Watter's fly ball.

Middletown (8-6, 8-4) made it 4-1 in the third on singles by Fritz and Russell before Heath reached on a throwing error by shortstop Jesse Bennaka.

North had a golden opportunity in the sixth with the bases loaded and one out. T.J. Hose bounced a single over the head of first baseman Chris Anderson for an RBI, but the hit was backed up by Russell, the second baseman.

Russell threw home to catcher Chad Jennings, who fired to McQuillen at second base to catch Tim Hawkins in no-man's land off the bag and was chased down for the out. Meanwhile, Bobby Long left third to head for home and froze as McQuillen charged after him to start another rundown to end the inning.

"We've been trying to play strong defense," Middletown coach Mike DiSimone said. "We took advantage of the situations. We aren't a power team and we aren't a little ball team, but we figure if we can play defense, the hitting will take care of itself."

Middletown literally stole a rally in the seventh when Fritz pilfered home with the bases loaded against reliever Chris Schildt. Jennings followed with a sacrifice fly for the four-run lead.

Brandenburg pitched a complete game, allowing two runs on five hits and five strikeouts. Russell had three of Middletown's 11 hits.

"They played good defense when they needed to," Reynolds said. "And we didn't get the big hit when we needed it."

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