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Rebels give selves the boot

March 26, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

When the 'E' portion of your linescore has a greater number than your run production, it's likely the final outcome is not going to be part of a highlight reel.

The Rebels scored nine runs on Thursday, a day after their pitchers walked 12 in a season-opening loss. This time, the defense took an early vacation with 12 errors to help Urbana to a 20-9 victory.

"Our fielding practices have been pretty good," Rebels coach Ralph Stottlemyer said. "We just couldn't catch the baseball."

Urbana used just three hits to produce seven runs in the top of the second inning off Rebels starter Jeremy McAfee as the defense committed six errors, including four on successive at-bats by the Hawks.

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Urbana followed with three more runs in the third inning that sent McAfee to the showers.

South, which led 1-0 after Bryson Appel scored on a first-inning throwing error, got back a run in the third when David Miner walked, went from first to third on an infield out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Bussard.

The Rebels made things interesting with a seven-run outburst in the fourth, but missed a chance for more when Urbana rightfielder Mike LeFever made a running catch of James Harmon's drive down the line with two runners on base.

Danny Lynn drove in a pair of runs with a double to the fence in left-center, Phil Powell and Bussard had RBI singles and Patrick Hutzler delivered a two-run double to bring the Rebels back within a run at 10-9.

Harmon, who pitched a strong fourth inning, was hit with four singles and two errors in the fifth, leading to five-run outburst. Bussard relieved him, and five runs later, Urbana needed only to retire South for the 10-run rule victory.

McAfee, who deserved better support in his season-opening effort, had problems with the landing spot on the mound from the outset.

"I didn't have much rhythm and the mound bothered me," McAfee said. "I got down on myself with the fielding after the first inning. Right now this isn't the team we were last year."

Stottlemyre took a positive out of the loss.

"We were within one swing of taking lead if (LeFever) doesn't make that catch," Stottlemyer said. "But coming back ... that lifted up my morale."

Appel and Hutzler each had two hits for South while Miner walked twice, giving him six in eight plate appearances in two games.

Today, South Hagerstown - the defending Class 1A state champion - hits the road for a big game at defending Class 2A state champion Walkersville.

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