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Trojans can't rally past early errors

March 31, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Stocky right-hander Kevin Hellam couldn't keep his baseball jersey tucked into his trousers to save his life.

But compared to Chambersburg's infield play, Mechanicsburg's 6-foot-2, 293-pound starting pitcher appeared pretty sharp Tuesday evening at Henninger Field.

"It was terrible," Chambersburg shortstop Cody Stinger said. "It was just a lack of focus, and we made a lot of dumb decisions. We came out expecting to beat these guys. We're ranked No. 2 in the state."

Hellam allowed three runs over six-plus innings, and the Wildcats capitalized on six errors by the Trojans' infield for four unearned runs on the way to a 7-6 win.

"We did two things wrong," Chambersburg coach Bob Thomas said. "We couldn't field the groundball, and we couldn't hit when we had chances early in the game."

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The Trojans (1-1), who stranded six baserunners and trailed 7-0 through five innings, didn't find their offensive groove until the bottom of the sixth. Drew McGwin led off with a triple to right-center field, Stinger was hit by a pitch and Andy Carter and Kyle Davis followed with RBI singles to cut the deficit to 7-2.

"Against Chambersburg, you can never have enough runs," Mechanicsburg coach Don Shirley said. "There's never any doubt about that."

Down to their last at-bats, the Trojans rallied for four more in the seventh. After Jared Olson led off with a walk, Dan Amon replaced Hellam on the mound and immediately walked Irv Sleighter. McGwin, who went 3-for-4, followed with an RBI single to right to make it 7-3.

Stinger, who committed half of Chambersburg's errors at shortstop, then nearly atoned for his mistakes with one swing, crushing a two-run triple to deep center.

"That shows we have no quit in us. We didn't just die," said Stinger, who was 2-for-3. "If we had another inning, I think we would have won."

After he scored on Tyler Brown's sacrifice fly to center to make it a one-run game, Matt Gruber relieved Amon and struck out Carter and Josh Frey to end the game.

The late rally was of little consolation to Thomas.

"It doesn't make any difference whether we came back or not," he said. "We got beat."

Trojans starter Ryan Hinkle (0-1) went 3 1/3 innings for the loss, allowing seven runs (three earned), seven hits and a walk while striking out three. Andrew Burke relieved him and pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings, striking out four and allowing a hit and a walk.

Mechanicsburg (1-1) went up 1-0 in second on Seth Pehanich's RBI single, made it 2-0 in the third on a pair of Chambersburg errors and 7-0 in the fourth on three more errors, three singles and a two-run double by Ryan Melick, who was 2-for-4.

Hellam (1-0), who's heading to Shippensburg University in the fall to play offensive line for the football team, allowed five hits, five walks, hit two batters and struck out seven.

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