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Knights end frustration, keep winning

April 19, 2002|BY DAN SPEARS

Middletown softball coach Charlie Toms had seen it before. Twice - to be exact.

His team in extra innings with Catoctin had not been a good thing over the last two seasons, because it ended in a Cougars victory and Middletown frustration.

Whether it was "third time's a charm" or "law of averages," the Knights finally beat Catoctin in bonus innings, 4-2 in 10 frames on Tuesday.

It was also the team's first win over Catoctin since 1999. Only four losses, sure, but all annoying to no end.

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"I was tired of losing to them, and the upperclassmen, I'm sure, felt the same way," said Toms, whose seniors had only a win late in the 1999 season to show for a career series against Catoctin. "We were tired of losing to Walkersville, too, and we got them last week."

It wasn't an easy orangutan to get off their back, though. Catoctin battled through some tough breaks, a couple of missteps and several solid Middletown hits to push the Knights to the limit before falling.

"You're always frustrated (by keeping a team in it), but we weren't making mistakes," Toms said. "Catoctin was earning everything it got.

"But our big players stepped up in a big game, and we got the breaks we needed to end this."

Lucky 13?

Although none of them might admit it, some coaches in the boys MVAL race know one loss might not kill them down the stretch.

Almost four weeks into the season, none of the 10 teams is eliminated and no one is undefeated. With Boonsboro and Walkersville, the current 1-2 teams in the standings, still to play their two-game series, a record of 14-4 - or even 13-5 - may be enough for a share or all of the league title.

Gentlemen, fasten your safety belts ...

- The girls' race is slightly more cut and dry, with most penning Catoctin and Middletown's May 3 rematch as the title game. But Smithsburg, sitting solidly with just two losses, can throw a wrench in the works with a win over the Knights today.

Getting on, staying on

Walkersville's Ray Dorsey and Boonsboro's Mike Fravel are doing even more than their obscenely high batting averages say. Dorsey is hitting .520, but has been walked 16 times and been hit twice by pitches for an on-base percentage of .767.

Fravel, meanwhile, is second in the Tri-State in batting average (.636), has been walked eight times and plunked five more. It adds up to an on-base percentage of .771.

No wonder the two teams are a combined 17-3.

One coming, one going

Jefferson's Sam Walls will return to the mound this weekend at the McDonald's Classic at Logan High School. After missing several weeks of fielding and throwing due to an arm injury, coach John Lowery said the NC State-bound hurler will be on an extremely limited pitch count on his way back to a full start.

Meanwhile, Chad Wolfe, Catoctin's No. 1 pitcher, is likely done for the season. Coach Mike Franklin says it'll be tough for the junior to return to the mound this season, but it's still possible for the playoffs.

Tourney time

- The Frederick County Tournament's quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be played this weekend, with the final likely set for April 28. The four MVAL and CMC teams are seeded based on their conference standing for the quarterfinals. Catoctin and Frederick High are currently in line for the No. 1 seeds from each league, as perennial powers Walkersville and Thomas Johnson are struggling early this season.

n On the boys side, Jefferson heads downstate to test its footing against some of the state's best at Logan, which has beaten Jefferson in the state final each of the past two seasons. The Cougars play a split-doublheader today with the home team and another perennial power, South Charleston.

Whoops

Our apologies to Jefferson's Jawaan Holmes, whose name we've been misspelling all season long. Don't worry, Jawaan, you're in the spellchecker now.

Dan Spears is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131 ext. 2334 or dans@herald-mail.com

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