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Indians' Ditch puts C. Valley in a hole

March 28, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Cumberland Valley ace Ryan Loper certainly didn't seem to intimidate the Waynesboro baseball team.

Especially not Indians hurler Ryan Ditch.

Ditch pitched 3 1/3 innings of shutout relief and drove in the game's final runs with a two-run double off Loper in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Waynesboro came from behind to edge CV 6-5 in their Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division opener on Thursday.

Ditch picked up his first career varsity win, while Loper, last year's Commonwealth MVP, took the loss.

"Loper has all the credentials," said Waynesboro coach Greg Chandler. "We didn't just beat anybody."

The Indians (2-0, 1-0) jumped on Loper early, taking a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Phil Woodring led off with a bunt single and came home on a double by Mike Sanders. Sanders scored on a single from Justin Kauffman, who then scooted safely to the plate on a passed ball.

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But Loper settled down, holding the Indians to one hit and no runs over the next three innings, as the Eagles (1-1, 0-1) roughed up Waynesboro starter A.J. Freelove for a run in the second and four more in the third to take a 5-3 lead.

That's where the score stood until the fifth, when Waynesboro struck again.

"We're a senior team. We're not just going to quit easy," said Chandler. "We have a lot of experience and a lot of confidence."

Brian Lisko sparked the Indians' rally with a one-out infield single and, after a walk to Sanders, scored on a single to left by Jeremy Geesaman. Two batters later, Ditch drove home Sanders and Geesaman with a double to right for his first varsity extra-base hit.

"That was my first time being in the flow of the game both sides," said Ditch.

Ditch took the mound duties from Freelove, who pitched five perfect innings in the Indians' season-opening win over CD East Monday, with two outs in the third and silenced the Eagles through the sixth. Ditch, who kept the Eagles off-balance with a mixture of fastballs and curves, scattered three hits, walked two and struck out one.

"That was ace against ace right there," said Ditch of the Loper-Freelove matchup. "I wasn't expecting to come in, but I was ready for it.

"To come in in a big game like that ... they're a rival, they're a top-notch team in the league and they had their ace," Ditch said. "To beat a team like that is going to get the whole team up."

Woodring pitched a scoreless seventh for his first career save, while Sanders and Lisko paced Waynesboro's 10-hit attack with a pair of hits each.

Shaun Baker went 3-for-4 with three RBI for CV, while John Neurohr went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

"It was a pretty exciting game," said Chandler. "I'm just proud of the guys. It's a big win."

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