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Lipscomb, Cougars roll in sectional opener

May 14, 2001

Lipscomb, Cougars roll in sectional opener



By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Jefferson 6

Musselman 0

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Bozzi, Kees (4) and D. Miller; Lipscomb and Noll. WP - Lipscomb (10-1). LP - Bozzi (7-3).



SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Musselman baseball coach Jeff Cunningham knows his Applemen would have a better chance of parking the team bus in a phone booth than beating Jefferson on a good night.

"When you play Jefferson, you have to play a perfect game," he said.

And when the top-ranked Cougars are executing at near perfection, there is even less margin for error.

No. 1 seed Jefferson played solid infield defense behind pitching ace Ryan Lipscomb and backed it up with aggressive base running Friday to turn four hits into a 6-0 victory over the Applemen at Sager Field to open the Class AAA Region II, Section 1 tournament. It was the Cougars' fourth consecutive shutout.

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Lipscomb struck out nine in his complete-game, three-hit win, while Jefferson's infield turned in 10 ground ball outs, including a back breaking double play in the fifth. Offensively, Jefferson took the extra base on five occasions to help prolong all three scoring rallies.

"We had some great base running and great defense and just enough timely hits," Jefferson coach John Lowery said. "And Lipscomb pitched a nice game. He's not overpowering, but he's big and only 17, which is cause to believe he will get stronger."

Lipscomb was strong enough to move Jefferson (30-5-1, No. 1 Herald-Mail poll) into the winner's bracket round of the four-team, double-elimination tournament. The Cougars host Hedgesville today at noon. Musselman plays at Martinsburg in the elimination round.

Jefferson jumped out to the early 1-0 lead as the Applemen (18-13) lost perfection early. Brandon Conway reached on a two-out error and stole second before Sam Walls grounded a single over the mound for an RBI.

"We got two outs in three or four pitches and had an opportunity to get out of it," Cunningham said. "But when you play a team with an offense of this magnitude, you can't let things like that happen."

Lipscomb held Musselman to one hit through six innings - Bobby Weatherholtz's first-inning single - as Conway performed magic at shortstop. He ranged over seven grounders and was the middle of the double play.

"The thing that jumps out at me is the way they played infield defense," Cunningham said. "The Conway kid made outstanding plays. The ball would have squeaked through on lesser defense."

Jefferson added three runs in the fourth, capped by Donell Lee's two-run single, and closed the scoring with two runs in the fifth.

"Good defense makes good pitching," Lowery said. "Tonight was a good example of that."

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