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Rebels are best of 1A West

May 20, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

For the second time in five days, David Miner got the best of a matchup of aces. This time, it gave South Hagerstown a ticket to the Class 1A state semifinals.

Coming off a two-hit shutout of top-seed Clear Spring and Adam Mills in the 1A West quarterfinals, Miner allowed one run and three hits in another complete game effort and added three hits and three RBI as the Rebels pulled away for an 8-1 victory over Southern Garrett and previously unbeaten Chris Smith for the regional title.

Once he gets in that zone," South coach Ralph Stottlemyer said of Miner, "he's really good."

In a region featuring several top-flight pitchers - including Mills, Smith, Williamsport's Nick Adenhart and Allegany's Aaron Laffey - Miner's two gems left South (13-8) the only team standing.

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"That was a loaded bracket," Stottlemyer said, "and we were the ones who got through."

The Rebels will play Cambridge-South Dorchester at 7 p.m. at McCurdy Field in Frederick.

Dennis Tressler's RBI triple off the tip of the glove of a diving Bryson Appel in the right field corner gave Southern (16-3) a 1-0 first-inning lead.

The Rams made Miner throw 55 pitches in the first two innings, with Miner walking two and going to a full count on five of the first 10 batters, including each of the four he faced in the second.

"I was trying to overthrow at first, trying to strike them out," Miner, who finished with 10 Ks, said.

But the left-handed Smith (11-1), who set a Southern record for victories in a season, also had pitch-count issues, throwing 21 in the first and 32 more in the second, when South took a 3-1 lead.

The inning started with a walk to Daniel Lynn and Ben Mertz's seeing-eye single up the middle which advanced Lynn to third. After a strikeout, Rob Peterson laid down a safety squeeze bunt. The throw to first pulled the first baseman off the bag, and the throw back home was too late as Lynn scored.

"A big key was the catcher laying down that bunt," Stottlemyer said.

After Appel walked, Miner lined a full-count fastball - the eighth pitch of the at-bat - past the third baseman into left field to score Mertz and Peterson, who earlier stole second.

"I got a pitch I could handle and I hit it hard," Miner said. "It gave me more confidence."

Miner took that confidence back to the mound, where he allowed only one hit and three walks the rest of the way.

Singles by Mertz and Jeremy McAfee scored Josh Bussard - who reached on a strikeout and wild pitch - for a 4-1 lead in the third. Miner's RBI bloop single made it 5-1 in the fifth as the Rebels finally chased Smith, who threw 124 pitches in five innings.

"We just had to keep coming at him," Stottlemyer said. "The boy was getting wild and we had to be patient."

McAfee's two-run double and Peterson's RBI double, both off Southern reliever Dennis Tressler, made it 8-1 in the sixth.

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