Blazers journey into 1A West quarters

May 16, 2004|By BILL STERNER

CLEAR SPRING - Famous travelling journalist Charles Kuralt once quipped, "It didn't matter where you had been as much as where you were going."

Clear Spring baseball coach Mark Shives can agree.

The Blazers, winners of only a handful of regular-season games, got some efficient pitching from senior Mike Hamby and flawless defense to oust Hancock 10-0 Saturday in the opening round of the Maryland Class 1A West baseball playoffs.

Hamby pitched four innings, allowing just a pair of hits, while striking out 10. Senior Phil Saloom retired the Panthers in order in the fifth.

The Blazers took advantage of four Hancock errors and a pair of doubles by Larry Hose to build an early 6-0 in the first two innings.


"I'll tell you, we are playing our best baseball right now," Shives said. "We have had a couple of great practices and our confidence is at an season high right now."

Shives and the Blazers had little trouble convincing Hancock of it.

Clear Spring took a 1-0 in the first, but gave the Panthers a lethal dose of offense in the second. Clear Spring loaded the bases as David Mills singled, Hose doubled and Andrew Michael walked. Hancock starter Jeff Willison scored a strikeout before Mike Snyder and Saloom each singled to produce three runs. Scott Keeny followed with a two-run double for a 6-0 lead.

"Jeff (Willison) pitched a good game," Hancock coach Tom Flowers said. "We sort of put him in some bad positions by not getting some outs that were basically handed to us."

The luck didn't change for Hancock.

The Panthers had their best chance to score in the fourth when Hamby, showing signs of fatigue, threw 12 straight balls to load the bases with one out. But Hamby's next six pitches were strikes as he struck out the side to escape the inning.

"Mike did what he had to do today," Shives said. "He got a little complacent in the fourth inning, but he was able to adjust and pitch out of it."

"When you have more errors than hits, it's tough to win a baseball game," Hancock coach Tom Flowers said. "But you have to give credit to Clear Spring. They are playing well and I wish them all the luck."

Derek Clingerman and Jaret Trail each doubled to post Hancock's only two hits.

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