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Fifth-inning burst propels South

April 29, 2004|by CHRIS CARTER

South Hagerstown and Smithsburg played five innings of baseball Wednesday.

The game was decided in just one.

The Rebels scored eight runs in the fifth inning and won their sixth straight game, beating the Leopards 13-3 in an MVAL Antietam game.

"Our bats really came alive in the last inning," said Rebels coach Ralph Stottlemyer. "(Smithsburg) also made some critical mistakes and we were able to make the most of them."

The mistakes weren't just in the field for the Leopards (6-6, 3-5), who also had trouble pushing runners across the plate. They stranded 12 runners and left the bases loaded in the first and second innings.

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"Leaving runners on base has been a common occurrence for us this year and it's really hurt us," Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes said. "We have to get back to the fundamentals of moving guys around the basepaths."

Despite the troubles, the Leopards still held a 3-2 lead through three innings, due to their success against South ace David Miner, who walked seven batters.

"We had him right where we wanted him, but we left him off the hook," said Fowkes.

"David was missing the corners and he was struggling," said Stottlemyer. "When I talked to him, he told me that he didn't have it."

The Rebels (8-4, 7-1) picked it up for Miner, scoring three runs in the fourth to take a 5-3 lead.

Left-hander Aaron Wagner relieved Miner and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing just three hits to earn the save.

"I think that switching from a righty to a lefty really slowed them down," Stottlemyer said. "Aaron came in and pitched well and really shut their bats down."

While Wagner held Smithsburg's offense, the Rebels exploded for eight runs on seven hits in the fifth to gain the 10-run rule victory.

"We've had a few of these 10-run rule wins and it really boosts the team's confidence," said Stottlemyer. "Any win is great, but the big wins are more pleasant."

Hutzler had four hits for the Rebels, while Bryson Appel and Daniel Lynn added two hits each. Josh Bussard hit a two-run double in the first inning.

Smithsburg leadoff batter Drew Crawford reached base in each of his four at-bats (single, three walks), while Joe Acre had two hits.

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