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Hubs eliminate top seed

May 15, 2001

Hubs eliminate top seed



By DAN KAUFFMAN

dankauff@herald-mail.com

North Hagerstown 11

North Carroll 7

N. Carroll1020031-782

N. Hagerstown225110x-11125

Hampt, Painter (4) and Bryant. M. Bellon and Long. WP - M. Bellon. LP - Hampt. HR - NH: Hawkins (1st, none on), Johnson (3rd, two on), Long (4th, none on); NC: Capece (7th, none on).



Simply put, this was baseball the way North Hagerstown likes it.

Ace pitcher Matt Bellon forced batter after batter to pound pitches into the ground, while his teammates took turns launching pitches into flight as No. 9 seed North Hagerstown took out No. 1 seed North Carroll 11-7 in the Class 3A West quarterfinals on Monday. North will host South Carroll on Wednesday.

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"We've hit the ball all year. ... Here the last couple of weeks, we've hit the ball hard and long," Hubs coach Shawn Reynolds said after watching his team drive three more balls out of the park. "Our first five hitters have homers this year, and (Tanner) Cross, he's been close."

North didn't wait long to add to its long ball totals Tim Hawkins took the fifth pitch from Panthers starter Shawn Hampt the opposite way over the fence in right for a 1-1 tie. Cross' RBI single made it 2-1, before RBI singles from Hawkins and Matt Johnson in the second made it 4-1.

North Carroll had chances in the first two innings thanks to three Hubs errors, but Bellon got three straight ground ball outs in the first to hold the Panthers to one run, then got a 6-4-3 double play after one error and a ground ball out after a second error in the second, avoiding a big inning.

"He's our number one, and he knows how to pitch," Reynolds said. "He knows how to get ground balls. If our defense plays behind him, he's tough to beat."

The Hubs took advantage of two Panthers errors on foul popups in the third, as both T.J. Hose and Bellon reached base after being given a second chance. Matt Hess and Hawkins followed with RBI singles, before Johnson unloaded the big blow of the game, a three-run homer to right-center off Hampt that staked North to a 9-3 edge.

"He's 9-for-10 in the playoffs," Reynolds said of Johnson, who finished 3-for-4 with four RBI Monday. "He's seeing the ball real well."

Chris Painter relieved Hampt in the fourth, and Bobby Long took his third pitch out to left for a 10-3 lead. Long's RBI double in the fifth made it 11-3. Bellon tired late, giving up three runs on four hits and a walk in the sixth and Matt Capece's solo homer in the seventh, but had enough to finish off the Panthers on, fittingly, a ground ball.

"He told me he got tired, but I feel a whole lot better with him out there the way he gets ground balls," Reynolds said.

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