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No. 2 Walkersville takes piece of MVAL with win vs. Leopards

May 10, 2002|BY DAN SPEARS

dans@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - The Walkersville baseball team waited only a split second, but it put them far enough ahead to make a difference on Thursday afternoon.

The No. 2 Lions, using patience at the plate in the first inning, put up a four-run frame, then rode a combined three-hitter to a 5-1 victory over No. 9 Smithsburg, a win that will likely give Walkersville a share of the Monocacy Valley Athletic League title.

"We had practice yesterday and batters were making sure to stay back," said Walkersville's Mike Mullinix, who doubled twice and pitched the first three innings. "We actually got the ball in play. Last time, we didn't hit it hard."

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In the teams' first game on April 30, Smithsburg's Nick Vierra held the Lions to three hits on the way to a 3-1 victory. This time against the left-hander, Walkersville (16-5, 13-5) had four by the end of the first inning.

Pete Genovese led off the game with a home run. With one out and the bases loaded, a two-run single by Danny Leatherman knocked in Ray Dorsey and Mullinix and Dustin Kolb drove in another run with a single in his first varsity at-bat to make it 4-0.

"We've just had so many games, and the pitching staff has gotten limited," Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes said. "We were hoping to get one or two out of Nick and then Brandon (Fisher) and whoever else we've needed. Nick's been so successful this year ... after that first inning it was a great game."

The teams traded well-manufactured runs in the fifth inning, but Mullinix, Pat Blake and Jimmy Reilly never let Smithsburg (10-8, 10-8) stay comfortable in the batter's box. Mullinix struck out six over the first three innings and wriggled out of Smithsburg's biggest threat in the first with two on and two out.

"It's always good to get out with no runs," Mullinix said with a shrug. "I just didn't want to give up anything."

The win leaves Walkersville a game ahead of Boonsboro in the standings, but the Warriors are in the process of reversing a loss to Catoctin due to a rules violation, and the teams would finish equal in the games-behind column.

For Mullinix, it didn't matter.

"We may not have 10-runned anyone this year," Mullinix said, "but we've still got a pretty good record."

Its three-game losing streak to close out the regular season took a little luster off Smithsburg's surprising season, one where the Leopards - a perennial doormat in the MVAL - was one week from winning a title.

But only a little.

"We lost three games this week, but now we've faced six No. 1 starters in a row," Fowkes said. "People know they've got to throw their best to win.

"And for us to get a split this season with Walkersville, I'm happy."

No. 2 Walkersville 5

No. 9 Smithsburg 1

Walkersville 4000100-561

Smithsburg 000100-131

Mullinix, Blake (4), Reilly (7) and Dorsey, Dub (6). Vierra, Fisher (3) and Dick. WP-Blake (2-0). LP-Vierra (4-1). HR-Genovese (1st, none on).

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