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Time is right now for Cougars

May 14, 2001

Time is right now for Cougars



By DAN SPEARS

dans@herald-mail.com

Musselman4000340-11130
Martinsburg20200(11)x-15122


Mahoney, Bozzi (1), Levie (4), Mahoney (6) and Weatherholtz. Walther, Gano (5), Holton (6) Ostrowski (7) and Twigg. WP-Holton (1-1). LP-Mahoney (5-5). HR-Mu: Combs (1st, two on); Ma: Twigg (6th, two on).



SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Jefferson pitcher Sam Walls knew it was only a matter of time before the Cougars got untracked Saturday afternoon against Hedgesville in the winner's bracket of the Region II Section 1 tournament.

"I thought if I could just hold them, we'd bust out," Walls said. "All I needed to do was hold them."

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Semantics aside, it really was a matter of timing that put the Cougars on their way to a 10-0 victory.

Jefferson scored all of its runs with two outs, figured out how to hit Dirk Webb's curve ball and yanked away the game's momentum on one close call in the fifth inning.

"I'm sure that was a big lift for our guys," Jefferson coach John Lowery said. "Kyle (Wilt) gets called out, it's still a one-run game and their best hitter in (Josh) Runkles is coming up. With one swing, it could have been tied."

With two out in the bottom of the fifth and 1-0 lead, Jefferson (31-5-1) got a single to right from Wilt off Webb, a freshman who had handcuffed the Cougars thanks to some solid breaking pitches. Wilt took off to steal second and it looked as if Hedgesville catcher Clayton Weaver had gunned Wilt down. But the umpire called him safe - much to the Eagles' dismay.

"We thought he was out, but the umpire didn't, and that's all that matters," Hedgesville coach Ben Merica said. "But you can't give a good team four outs. It's just so tough to do that against (Jefferson) and win."

He was right. Wilt's single opened the floodgates for Jefferson's silent bats. Ryan Lipscomb, Justin Dailey and Chris Brooks hit back-to-back-to-back RBI singles and Brandon Conway's RBI triple knocked out Webb.

"He gives up one hit in 4 2/3 innings and he still had a 1-2 count (on Lipscomb)," Merica said. "And then it was hit after hit after hit."

"They say hitting is contagious, but I think a lack of it might be, too," Lowery said. "When Wilt got that hit, they said it was our second. And I couldn't remember the first."

The Eagles (12-16) didn't have many hits to remember, either, against Walls, who threw the Cougars' fifth consecutive shutout.

The junior right-hander wriggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, then allowed just three more baserunners the rest of the game. He struck out eight and walked none.

"I knew if I could just get them to hit the ball, I'd get out of (the first)," Walls said. "Our defense, they've looked like professionals lately. It was basically just throw strikes and let them handle the rest."

Jefferson now has a day off Monday while waiting for the winner of Monday's elimination game between the Eagles and Martinsburg. That game is at 7 at Hedgesville.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The Eagles will play Martinsburg for the second time in the sectional tournament after the Bulldogs dropped down 11 runs in the sixth inning for a 15-11 victory to eliminate Musselman.

Down 11-4, Brett Twigg started the inning with a two-run single and, after Mark Ostrowski's single gave Martinsburg (18-9) the lead, Twigg capped the frame with a three-run homer. The Martinsburg catcher finished the game with three hits and six RBI.

Brandon Combs had a three-run homer in the first inning and finished with four RBI for Musselman (18-14-1), which finished the season 1-8 against sectional opponents.

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