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Blue Devils rally from seven down, stun Cougars

May 12, 2004|by CHRIS CARTER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - In a game that was virtually meaningless to its postseason aspirations, Greencastle had an alternate motive - pride.

The Blue Devils (15-5) rallied from an early seven-run deficit to stun visiting Jefferson in dramatic fashion for a 13-11 victory Tuesday at Barkdoll Field.

"To win a tough game this late in the year, that doesn't really have a bearing on the playoffs, is a real confidence boost," Greencastle coach Chris Sellers said. "This was a real fun game for me to manage and fun for the guys to play in."

But it wasn't all fun for the Blue Devils, who fell behind by seven runs after 2 1/2 innings.

Jefferson (18-11) got off to a quick start when starting pitcher David Smith belted a two-run homer in the first for a 2-0 advantage.

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After Greencastle cut the lead in half in the first, the Cougars used three hit batsmen to plate four runs in the second and two more in the third to take an 8-1 lead.

The Blue Devils came alive in the third, sending six straight batters to the plate without an out. Nick Schreiber led off with a home run and Chris Scott added a run-scoring double to pull the Blue Devils within 8-3. After Brett Hoffman reached on an error to load the bases, Nate Kopp sent a Smith pitch over the right-center field fence for a grand slam to get the Blue Devils within a run.

"Nate's home run set us up to do what we did later in the game, but it was a team effort for all the guys to get on base and give him a chance to drive them in," Sellers said.

"No lead is safe with the short fences at (Barkdoll Field)," Jefferson coach John Lowery said. "Long fly balls translate into home runs and you can string a lot of runs together that way."

Jefferson reliever Jordan Diehl came on to end the rally, retiring the next six batters in order with four strikeouts.

The Cougars picked up another run in the fifth, but Greencastle was not finished.

The first three Blue Devils batters walked to load the bases to start the fifth. Pinch hitter Josh Crunkelton lined a two-out double down the left-field line to tie the game at 9-9. Schreiber followed with a two-run single for the Blue Devils' first lead of the game.

Greencastle tacked on two insurance runs on a double by Adam Weistling in the sixth. The runs proved to be very important because Jefferson scored two runs in the seventh and threatened to score more, but reliever Brett Sellers shut the door with a game-ending strikeout.

"The extra runs were huge because we knew they weren't going away without a fight," Chris Sellers said. "Brett came in and struggled a little but he was able to battle out of it."

"This was kind of a wild game, but we'll be able to learn from the loss heading into the playoffs next week," said Lowery.

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