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'Cats take first loss

April 07, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

It was almost like the South Hagerstown baseball team hit the lottery Friday, the way its matching numbers equaled big winnings.

Bryson Appel went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run and an RBI to match his previous season hit total, while starter Ben Mertz pitched six strong innings to improve to 2-0 on the season, matching his win total from last year, as the Rebels knocked off previously unbeaten Williamsport 6-4 in a Monocacy Valley Athletic League matchup at South.

The Rebels improved to 4-2 (4-2), while the Wildcats fell to 6-1 (6-1).

"Coming into the game I was 3-for-12, so I wasn't hitting the ball too well, but I came out today," said Appel. "I just saw the ball well and jumped on the first pitch."

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Sparked by Appel, South quickly jumped on Williamsport left-hander Leo Schill for four runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Appel led off with a double to left, David Miner singled, and Mike Campbell walked to load the bases for Phillip Powell, who put the Rebels up for good with an RBI single to center. Josh Bussard then drew a walk to plate Miner. Two batters later, following a pair of strikeouts by Schill, Mertz cracked a two-run double to left-center field to make it 4-0.

"(Schill) got himself in trouble and we jumped on it," said South coach Ralph Stottlemyer. "Left-handed pitching has been a real problem for us, but we've been working on it in practice and we came out and hit him."

Mertz, who finished with two strikeouts and two walks, didn't allow a hit until the third inning, when Dustin Bachtell cracked a one-out double to deep center. Two batters later, Josh Bowers plated Bachtell with a single to right to cut the deficit to 4-1.

Meanwhile, Wildcats freshman Aerik Taylor took over for Schill in the second inning and held the Rebels to two runs on five hits the rest of the way.

"You got six innings to get it back, so we didn't feel we were out of it (after the first inning)," said Williamsport coach Rod Steiner. "Aerik came in and got sharper as the game went on, and we started pecking away. We were hoping for that one big inning, but it never came."

After South went up 5-1 in its half of the third - as Josh Bussard scored from third on a squeeze bunt by Daniel Lynn - Williamsport capitalized on a pair of two-out errors by shortstop Miner with two unearned runs in the fifth to make it 5-3.

But that didn't seem to faze Mertz.

"They were some plays that could have gotten us out of the inning, but Miner made up for it with some other big plays," said Mertz. "I was just throwing strikes and letting the team play behind me. ... They were an undefeated team, so I tried to put a little more effort into it."

South went up 6-3 in the fifth on an RBI double from Appel, while the Wildcats rounded out the scoring in the sixth on an RBI single by David Warrenfeltz.

Mertz finished 2-for-2 at the plate with a walk, while Miner, who pitched the seventh for the save, reached base four times with a single and three walks and stole two bases.

Bowers went 2-for-4 for Williamsport, while Bachtell scored twice.

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