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Henson handcuffs Wildcats

April 26, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Boonsboro's Craig Henson has pitched in big games before - he started last year's Class 1A state final for the Warriors, who defeated Catoctin for the title.

But the junior left-hander may never have pitched better in a big game than he did Friday against Monocacy Valley Athletic League leader Williamsport.

Henson (2-2) held the Wildcats to three hits - none after the third inning - while striking out nine, and Boonsboro got clutch hits from Marty Kaetzel, D.J. Wilson and Justin Baylor to defeat Williamsport, 9-1.

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"He pitched in the state championship game last year, so he can pitch a little bit," Warriors coach Fred Kreiger said of Henson. "He looked like his old self today."

Henson had his entire repertoire working, spotting his fastball at the knees and on the corners as well as climbing the ladder for three swinging strikeouts. He also located his curve for strikes, keeping Williamsport (11-3, 9-3) off-balance all evening.

The Wildcats hit Henson hard just once, on back-to-back doubles by Will Roney and Dustin Bachtell for a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Henson was at his best in the late innings, finishing with a flourish by striking out the side in the seventh.

"I just tried to set them up," Henson said. "When I thought they were looking for a curveball, I threw them high fastballs. ... I just kept the ball low, and a lot of good things happened."

Kaetzel had the first of three key hits for Boonsboro (6-4, 6-4), a two-out triple to the right field gap off Wildcats starter Aerik Taylor (1-1) for a 2-1 lead in the third.

The Warriors broke the game open in the fifth, scoring six runs. Nathan Himes led off with a single, then stole second on the next pitch as Malphrus swung weakly to slow up the throw from Wildcats catcher David Warrenfeltz. Malphrus then reached safely on a perfect bunt, leaving runners at first and third with no outs to set up the scoring binge.

"We slash, we bunt, we move around and try to make things happen," Kreiger said.

Aerik Taylor walked the next two batters to force in a run, and was pulled for brother Andy Taylor, who walked the first batter he faced to force in another run. He settled down to retire the next two batters on fielder's choice 5-2 forceouts, but Wilson and Baylor both came through with two-out, two-run hits - Baylor's was a double - for an 8-2 lead.

"The guys at the bottom of the order are inexperienced, but they're getting better, and they hit some good pitching," Kreiger said. "We have to be pleased with how they came through."

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