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Greencastle can't pop clutch in Mid Penn

May 17, 2002|BY DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Greencastle-Antrim baseball coach Chris Sellers can't take much more of this.

After an excrutiating 4-3 loss to Bermudian Springs in a Class AA Mid Penn playoff game Thursday - the Blue Devils' fifth straight loss after a blazing 13-2 start - a frustrated Sellers kept talking about his team's lack of clutch hits.

"We can not put hits together in crucial situations, and when you don't put hits together in crucial situations, you lose," Sellers said matter-of-factly.

After reviewing the facts, Sellers has a point.

Greencastle (13-7) had numerous opportunities to break through offensively after Bermudian Springs took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Kyle Hemansen walked, stole second and third and scored on catcher Eric Ile's throwing error.

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In the fourth, singles by Nate Kopp and Skylar Group, and stolen bases by each, gave the Blue Devils runners on second and third with no outs. Zack Spidel walked with one out to load the bases, but Greencastle couldn't push a run across - as Bermudian Springs catcher Andrew Hade made a great catch in foul ground near the fence to end the inning.

In the fifth, an error, wild pitch, passed ball and a walk gave Greencastle runners on first and third with one out. Kopp struck out, and only after Group's two-out fly ball to deep center was dropped for an error did Greencastle score two runs to take a 2-1 lead. David Izer and Spidel followed with singles to score another run - the only big hits the Devils got all night - for a 3-1 lead.

Starter Alex Denkovich battled control problems as he walked seven, but he grinded to keep Greencastle in the game.

Bermudian Springs cut the lead to 3-2 in the sixth when Justin Boyer doubled to the gap in right, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a soft grounder. Then in the seventh, they turned a leadoff walk and an infield single into the tying and winning runs, the latter scoring with two outs when a grounder to second was booted by Brett Sellers.

"They got a couple key hits, and we didn't, and when you can't hit, everything gets magnified," Sellers said.

Still, Greencastle got a runner to third with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Group struck out for the second out, and after a walk, Spidel popped out to end the game.

"Nobody wants to hit for us," Sellers said. "No one wants to get his name in the newspaper, step up and make the play for us."

Bermudian Springs 4

Greencastle-Antrim 3

B. Springs 0100012-442

Greencastle 00300-363

Anderson, Loughman (5), Berwager (7), Diehl (7) and Hade. Denkovich and Ile. WP-Loughman. LP-Denkovich.

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