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Big bats get Blazers big wins

April 19, 2002|BY BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

Staff Correspondent

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Jim Hutson stepped gingerly around the ladder leaning against the side of the partially finished concession stand at Hedgesville High School's baseball field.

He'll stay away from mirrors and black cats, too - you see, the Clear Spring baseball coach doesn't want to do anything to jinx the way his Blazers are hitting the ball right now.

Gerad Haupt's grand slam punctuated a six-run seventh inning Thursday night, as the No. 7 Blazers rallied for a 12-10 victory to complete a wild and wooly sweep of the No. 8 Eagles in the Apple Valley League.

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Earlier in the evening, Josh Barnhart's three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning completed a 14-11 victory in a contest suspended by darkness after eight innings on April 3.

"Barnhart's shot started us in the right direction," Haupt said. "We believed we were going to get both games."

Belief or not, Clear Spring ace Adam Mills was still bounced around the yard pretty good by the Eagles (6-5, 2-3) in the first two innings of the regularly scheduled game.

Matt Faircloth's two-run double in the second inning gave Hedgesville a 5-0 lead, but it had also stranded four runners by the end of the inning, too.

Mills helped his own cause with a two-run double in the third as Clear Spring (10-3, 5-3) fought back, scoring six runs in the next two frames - capped by Andy Simmons' two-run homer in the fourth.

But Hedgesville was far from out of chances.

With the score knotted in the bottom of the fifth, the Eagles used two doubles and three walks to take a 10-6 lead into the top of the seventh. The big blow of the inning was a long single to left by Jason Wilcox that scored two runs.

"I'll admit, I thought this second game was over when we got to the seventh inning," Hutson said. "I mean, we are down by four runs to Hedgesville; it is rare when we sweep this team.

"Unbelievable."

Believe it or don't. Haupt got his chance and took it. A towering shot over the left-field fence turned him into a believer.

"When I got up there I was just hoping to knock in a run or two," Haupt said. "But I never even thought of this happening to me. This is every player's dream to hit a home run to win a game, especially in the last inning.The grand slam made it extra nice."

The beneficiary of the late-inning offensive explosion was Mike Hamby. The sophomore relieved Mills to start the sixth and, with the tying run at the plate in the seventh, doubled a Hedgesville baserunner off first to end the game with a dramatic double play.

"I am so happy for Hamby." Hutson said. "You know, a kid sits there waiting for his chance ... well tonight we asked Mike to help and he did a fine job."

"I knew we would win this second game." Barnhart said. "We came to play tonight."

No. 7 Clear Spring 12

No. 8 Hedgesville 10

C. Spring 0033006-12100

Hedgesville 3201400-10144

Mills, Hamby (6) and Everitts. Runkles, Faircloth (4), Starliper (7) and Faircloth, Butcher (4). WP-Hamby (1-0). LP-Starliper (0-1). HR-CS: Simmons (4th, one on), Haupt (7th, three on).

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