Miner turns in major effort

South junior homers, handcuffs Clear Spring

South junior homers, handcuffs Clear Spring

May 16, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

David Miner had one of those man-possessed, guy-on-the-edge, tortured-soul kind of days Thursday.

While on South Hagerstown's baseball field, Miner had all the personality of a lion with a thorn in his foot. That was fine with the Rebels, though.

That's because it meant the junior was locked in as starting pitcher, clutch hitter and all-around prophet as he led the Rebels to a 2-0 victory over Clear Spring in the Maryland Class 1A West quarterfinals.

Miner stoned the Blazers and outdueled Clear Spring starting pitcher Adam Mills with a two-hitter and 14 strikeouts. He also crushed a devastating two-run home run to left field with two outs in the fifth as the Rebels moved into today's region semifinal at Smithsburg.


"I was just in a zone," Miner said. "My teammates know when I'm in the zone to stay away from me."

South coach Ralph Stottlemyer was more than happy to give Miner the ball and stand out of the way in a duel between two of the top pitchers in Washington County.

"When he came off the field at Northern Garrett (on Wednesday), he told me, 'I'm going to be the man tomorrow,'" Stottlemyer said. "I said, 'Good, because we saved you just for this game.'"

The game started as advertised with Miner striking out nine and walking two while allowing only a third-inning single to Andy Simmons.

Mills countered by allowing two hits while walking two and striking out eight through four innings.

It all changed in the bottom of the fifth, per another Miner prediction.

"Adam is a good pitcher and we battled back and forth," Miner said. "I came into the dugout after the fifth inning and said, 'I'm going to hit one.' And then my teammates got into it."

Ben Mertz led off with a double off the center-field fence and took third on Robbie Peterson's grounder. Clear Spring caught a break when Bryson Appel grounded to second baseman Zeb Jacobs, who gunned home to erase Mertz.

Miner followed with a monster blast off Mills' first-pitch fastball, launching a towering shot that appeared gone on contact. He dropped the bat and took two steps while admiring his handiwork.

"I was looking for a first-pitch fastball because that's what I got the first two times up," Miner said. "I was real sure it was gone when I hit it, because I didn't feel it when I hit it."

South's two runs put a different light on the pitchers' duel.

"That home run was big ... I think that might have been the game," Stottlemyer said. "It gave David a lot more confidence out there on the mound."

More confidence might have been the last thing Miner needed.

"(Miner) pitched a nice game ... you have to give him that," Clear Spring coach Jim Hutson said. "We knew coming in this was going to be a pitchers' duel. But we made baserunning errors and didn't get our bunts down. (Miner) was smart enough to throw curves when we were trying to bunt and made it tough on us."

South managed six hits - two by Daniel Lynn - off Mills. Simmons had both Clear Spring hits, the second coming with two outs in the seventh.

"It just wasn't meant to be," Hutson said. "After all these years, you learn that that's the way it is sometimes, but it still doesn't make it any easier."

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