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Leopards show no Love to Warriors

May 04, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - For four innings of Monday's MVAL Antietam baseball game, Boonsboro ace Jay Love kept Smithsburg off the scoreboard and out of the hits column.

Unfortunately for Love and the Warriors, the Leopards' bats got hot in the fifth.

Drew Crawford's two-out RBI single gave Smithsburg a 2-1 lead, and the Leopards turned seven hits into five runs in the fifth and sixth innings to turn back Boonsboro, 5-1.

"Crawford's hit is a big hit to get us the lead," Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes said. "We've been struggling to get hits in key situations, and that hit gave us some confidence."

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Love cruised early, allowing only a first-inning walk while otherwise facing the minimum, aided by a pair of stellar catches by leftfielder Alex Malphrus.

Boonsboro - playing as the road team on its home turf because Smithsburg's field is unplayable - took the lead in the fifth against Smithsburg starter Josh Daniels when, with two outs, Malphrus singled and Jeremiah Mills doubled to the fence in center to score Malphrus.

Nate Steelman led off the bottom half with an infield single to break up Love's no-hit bid, before T.J. Bowser went the other way with a double down the right-field line to put runners on second and third. With one out, Josh Humelsine's flyout to center scored Steelman, and with two outs, Crawford's seeing-eye single through the hole at short scored Bowser.

"We had a couple solid shots (in the first four innings), and we've been talking, 'timely hitting, timely hitting, timely hitting,' and finally it came through for us," Fowkes said.

The Leopards added three insurance runs in the sixth on four consecutive hits - singles by Wayne Rumbaugh and Gerry Spessard and doubles by Steelman and Bowser - off Love.

"He tried to do a little too much in the end," Boonsboro coach Brian Smith said of his senior starter. "He tried to muscle up and throw it by people and his ball flattened out."

Meanwhile, Daniels pitched an efficient game, dodging trouble along the way. He allowed five hits, walked four, hit two batters and fanned four in going the distance. Boonsboro stranded eight runners, six in scoring position, and left the bases loaded to end the game.

"The amazing thing is he pitched better when he was behind in the count," Fowkes said. "He battled back and made some quality pitches."

"That's twice he's thrown against us and he's pretty much shut us down both times," Smith said.

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