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Bowers empowers 'Cats to tower over Leopards

April 24, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - All pitching-rich Williamsport needs is an offensive power supply in its quest to reach the state tournament for the first time since 1999.

After an 11-6 conquest of Smithsburg on Friday, the Wildcats have now averaged 12 runs per game in their last five performances.

Williamsport coach Rod Steiner, who like Smithsburg was faced with a fourth game in five days, called on senior Josh Bowers to start. The side-wheeling righthander settled down after a shaky first inning to pick up the win. Bowers had pitched four innings of relief this year prior to his start.

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"Bowers started as a sophomore and we didn't look at him as a starter this year," Steiner said. "With the games this week we felt we could use him in this spot."

After spotting Smithsburg a 3-0 lead in the first inning, which included a rain delay, Bowers settled down until he was replaced by Ben Jordan in the fifth.

"I wasn't nervous (from the start) ... it was more difficult holding the wet balls," said Bowers, who pitches exclusively from the stretch. "They were trying to keep them dry but it was tough."

Williamsport (11-1, 7-1 MVAL Antietam) began its march to a seventh straight win with two runs in the second and four runs in the third.

Jordan and Bowers led off the third with singles against Smithsburg sophomore starter Andrew Bentley before Nick Adenhart smacked an RBI double to left. David Warrenfeltz drove in Bowers with a groundout.

Adenhart scored on a wild pitch and Aerik Taylor, who had walked and reached second, scored on Drew Crawford's two-base throwing error.

Williamsport added three runs in the sixth, highlighted by Leo Schill's two-run single.

Jordan shut down Smithsburg (6-4, 3-3) in two innings of relief before Aerik Taylor closed out the game when Smithsburg loaded the bases in the seventh, but produced only one run with the heart of the batting order.

"We had some golden opportunities in the fifth and seventh innings with the bases loaded but we didn't produce," said Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes.

Jordan had four of Williamsport's 15 hits and scored three runs while Adenhart added three hits.

"We've scored runs this whole week," said Steiner. "We did have some blunders base- running and gave them some extra outs defensively."

T.J. Bowser, who pitched three innings in relief of Bentley, had two hits and two RBI for the Leopards.

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