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Cardiac Cougars stay alive

May 22, 2002|BY JOEL HUFFER

joelh@herald-mail.com

FREDERICK, Md. - With the game on the line, Zac Ausherman could have allowed any number of thoughts to enter his mind.

Because he didn't, the Catoctin Cougars are headed to their first Class 1A baseball championship.

Ausherman, a sophomore catcher, singled to right field with one out in the eighth inning Tuesday, driving home the final two runs in a 7-5 win over Rising Sun at McCurdy Memorial Park.

Ausherman's blooper to right over a drawn-in infield scored winning pitcher Chris LeGore and Jason Johnson to move the Cougars (15-9) to Saturday's championship game.

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Catoctin will face Boonsboro, a 4-1 winner in the other semifinal, at noon Saturday at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans.

"I was just trying to focus on what the coaches had taught me," Ausherman said. "You can't get too much stuff in your head up there. You have to keep your mind clear."

The single was the second of the game for Ausherman, who had tied the game with a two-out base hit in the sixth.

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"Zac's fearless," Catoctin coach Mike Franklin said. "He's too young to know that he should be nervous in that situation. He's just a kid who loves to play baseball and goes out there and does it without thinking too much about it."

LeGore went the distance, facing 37 batters and battling through the first five innings. In each of those frames, he faced men with runners in scoring position with one out.

"I didn't really think about how many guys I had faced. I just wanted to work on the hitter at the plate," LeGore said. "In the last few innings, I was able to get them to hit the ball on the ground. Most of the time, they were hitting it at somebody."

In the final three innings, LeGore retired nine of the 10 batters he faced, allowing only a one-out single in the eighth. He finished with 10 strikeouts and three walks.

"He's been pitching all season and he had nine innings he could give us," Franklin said. "I'd have to fight him to get him off that mound."

Catoctin took advantage of sloppy fielding by the Tigers (16-8) in the third inning. With just one hit - a bunt single by Sam Kulceski - and the aid of four errors, the Cougars took a 3-0 lead.

"That was huge ... early in the game, especially," Franklin said. "That helped our kids get a little confidence and know that they belonged in this game."

Rising Sun rallied, taking a 5-4 lead with three runs in the fifth, before Ausherman's first single tied the score.

Geoff Hillis tripled and scored on a groundout by Jim Swanson in the fifth.

Catoctin 7, Rising Sun 5

Catoctin 00301102-771

Rising Sun 00113000-586

LeGore and Ausherman. Coudon, Repole (3), Coudon (4), McGrady (8) and Truitt. WP-LeGore (7-1). LP-McGrady.

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