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Hedgesville trips No. 8 Martinsburg

May 14, 2001

Hedgesville trips No. 8 Martinsburg



By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Hedgesville 9

Martinsburg 4

Hedgesville0040005-9101

Martinsburg0020011-481

Runkles and Weaver; Bartley, Yurish (7) and Twigg. WP - Runkles. LP - Bartley. HR - H: Runkles (3rd, three on); M: Quinn (6th, none on.)



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Luck - at least not the good variety - hasn't been with the Hedgesville baseball team this season.

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On Friday, Josh Runkles did his best to make sure luck never had a chance to enter the game while Brandon Burkhart made sure it never came out of the dugout.

Runkles fired a complete game with 11 strikeouts and drove in four runs and Burkhart sealed the game with a two-run double in the seventh to give Hedgesville a 9-4 victory over Martinsburg in the opening game of the West Virginia Class AAA Region II, Section 1 tournament at P.O. Faulkner Park.

Most of Runkles' RBI came on a critical three-run home run to cap a four-run third inning. Then, after the lead dwindled to one, Burkhart gave the Eagles an unlikely jolt to anchor a five-run seventh to put the game away.

"I really feel like these kids realize we are a quality team, but we have been getting some breaks," Hedgesville coach Ben Merica said. "Jason has had some hard-luck losses. We've squandered leads time and time again even though he's pitched well throughout."

The Eagles advance to a winner's bracket meeting at Jefferson today at noon while Martinsburg will host Musselman in the double-elimination tournament.

Hedgesville (12-15) broke a scoreless tie against Martinsburg starter Brandon Bartley in the third. Ian Edwards drew a leadoff walk and advanced on G.W. Keller's one-out infield single before scoring on a Burkhart hit. Runkles followed by lifting a low fastball over the left center field fence to turn a one-run lead into a four-run bulge.

The homer had an immediate impact, especially with Martinsburg (17-9) answering with two runs in the bottom of the seventh on RBI singles by Zach Glover and Mark Ostrowski. Without the homer, Martinsburg would have had a 2-1 lead instead of trailing, 4-2.

"Runkles hurt us both offensively and defensively," Martinsburg coach Dennis Etherington said. "He got stronger as the game went on, but we took a lot of pitches and weren't very aggressive once we got behind. We had one bad inning and then they made it tough on us with the insurance runs in the seventh."

Martinsburg crawled within 4-3 on Mike Quinn's homer to right in the sixth.

Burkhart gave Hedgesville its much needed insurance, with a verbal assist from a Martinsburg fan. With runners on first and second and two strikes, Bartley tried nibbling the corners against Burkhart.

The fan yelled "Throw it in there ... he's only hitting .186." Burkhart responded by painting the right field line with a two-run liner.

Runkles, J.D. Durham and Clayton Weaver drove in runs to cap the five-run outburst. Runkles struck out 11 while allowing eight hits and walking three.

"I knew there was a reason we stayed with (Burkhart) in the No. 2 spot," Merica said. "When someone yelled that he was a .180 hitter, that picked him up."

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