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Eagles spoil Bulldogs' opener

March 31, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Hedgesville's baseball team has a familiar name at the top of its lineup, one that was instrumental in the Eagles' success on the basketball floor.

Along with starting pitcher Matt Yurish, Duncan Williams was in Hedgesville's lineup for the first time this year following eight days of practice since the basketball season concluded.

Coach Ben Merica had Williams in the leadoff spot and the senior first baseman had little time for butterflies as he faced an opposing high school pitcher for the first time since his sophomore year.

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Williams set the table with a first-pitch double off Martinsburg starter Aaron Stokes, opening the game with his first of three hits as Hedgesville spoiled Martinsburg's season opener, 10-2, in a six-inning, rain-plagued contest.

"That hit felt so good ... I can't believe it went to the fence," Williams said of his two-bagger to right-center.

Aaron Whitford followed with a single that sent Williams to third and senior Dirk Webb promptly sent a fastball from Stokes 340 feet over the fence in left field for a 3-0 lead.

Yurish, who will play baseball at West Virginia University, made his initial appearance of the year and the lefty came away with the win despite a shaky 3 1/3 innings.

He walked six but allowed only one hit, a third-inning triple by Brandon Armentrout, who eventually scored the Bulldogs' second run on a wild pitch.

Hedgesville (2-2) collected 13 hits off Stokes and Armentrout and salted the game away with four runs in the fourth inning that included a two-run double by Matt Bartgis and a two-run single by Yurish.

"The guys that played basketball are only eight days removed," said Eagle coach Ben Merica. "Duncan and Matt certainly did the job tonight."

Hedgesville's top of the order, 1-through-4, produced 10 hits in 12 at-bats along with three walks and a sacrifice fly. Bartgis also had three hits and Webb scored three runs, drove in three and had two hits.

"We're definitely top-heavy on offense," Merica said. "As we get more games in we'll know more down the lineup and where we get to be."

Webb also picked up Yurish on the hill as he tossed 2 2/3 innings of relief, striking out six and not allowing a hit.

A.J. Mason drove in Hedgesville's final two runs in the sixth inning with a single. Mark Richmond scored Martinsburg's first run in the opening inning on a wild pitch, after reaching on a fielder's choice.

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