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Bulldogs' youth build win

April 04, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

INWOOD, W.Va. - With youth on its side, the Martinsburg baseball team needs to use building blocks to construct wins.

On Thursday, the Bulldogs put them all together and got Musselman to run into the wall.

Martinsburg used a four-run fifth inning - when the Bulldogs collected six of their 10 hits - to pull away while its pitching kept Musselman looking for its hitting stroke in an 8-3 victory.

"(Musselman) has a lot of seniors on their team and they have a lot of expectations," Martinsburg coach Dennis Etherington said. "Our kids are young and they have to come out and play well to win. We need good pitching, take advantage of what they give us and we have to manufacture runs. The kids did it all today."

Martinsburg (4-3) extended its winning streak to four games by aggressively grabbing the momentum from the Applemen in the third inning.

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Musselman took a 1-0 lead in the second on Ryan Woolum's bases-loaded walk. Martinsburg countered with authority on Blaine Durst's RBI double and Jared Spatero's two-run homer to left for a 3-1 lead that put Musselman back on its heels.

"We've been a strong hitting team, but in Myrtle Beach we were strong one day and off the next," said Musselman assistant coach Jeff Sibole, who is filling in for coach Jeff Cunningham while he is on administrative leave. "It was an every-other-day thing. They just need one game where they will break out and they will be fine."

Martinsburg freshman pitcher A.J. Roberts held down the Applemen for five innings, allowing one run on five hits with two strikeouts. Roberts' outing carried over from the final game of the Hawaiian Tropic Classic, where he went 3-for-3, including a grand slam, and had six RBI against Spartanburg (S.C.).

"A.J. has a lot of poise," Etherington said. "He'll make his little mistakes but I think he will be pretty successful for us by the time he's done."

Martinsburg moved to a 4-1 lead in fourth on Aaron Stokes' RBI single off Musselman starter Ryan Woolum.

The Bulldogs took advantage of what was offered and manufactured runs in the fifth, highlighted by Jason Jackson's two-run triple and Mark Richmond's run-scoring single.

Roberts tired in the sixth and gave way to reliever Jason Beard, who was victimized for two runs with the help of a pair of Bulldog errors. Woolum drove in his second run with an RBI single.

"This is a big rivalry," Sibole said. "I told the kids before the game that in big games everyone makes mistakes, but the ones that can rebound from them usually wins. (Martinsburg) was able to rebound today."

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