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Hose runs off Century with two-hit shutout

May 18, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

Century found out the hard way Monday: Give T.J. Hose a five-run first-inning cushion, and he's awfully tough to beat.

Matt Murray's highlighted North Hagerstown's early offensive explosion with a two-run single before taking his usual spot behind the plate to catch another Hose gem as the Hubs ace twirled a two-hit shutout for a 7-0 victory over Century in the Class 2A West quarterfinals.

"He doesn't need that many (runs)," Murray said. "You get him three runs, you've pretty much got a victory when he's on the mound, especially if his slider's working. ... He was hitting his spots and his slider was vicious."

North (16-5) - champions of the MVAL Antietam Conference - has won 11 straight games and will try for a 12th in the semifinals Wednesday at Liberty.

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"We've just played ball like we're capable of and come together as a team," Hubs coach Shawn Reynolds said.

Murray's first-inning single off Century starter Jimmy Mudgett scored Orland Dean and Hose for North's first two runs.

"(Mudgett) was all over the place and we tried to wait him out," Murray said. "I got a hanging curve ball and tried to hit it hard, and I hit it through the hole."

Two Century errors led to two more runs and Colby Thompson's single through the hit-and-run-induced gap at second scored Murray.

That was plenty for Hose, who allowed only a second-inning single and a seventh-inning double while walking four, hitting a batter and striking out eight.

"I was hitting my spots, and once I got ahead, I knew I could throw the slider outside and they'd chase it," Hose said.

"With any pitcher, if you get him runs early, he can relax," Reynolds said. "Not every pitch is crucial when you have a few runs."

In the third, Murray walked, moved up on singles by Kyle Robinson and Thompson and scored on Brent Toms' sacrifice fly for North's sixth run.

In the fifth, Robinson doubled off Century reliever Matt Meadows, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Orland Dean's sacrifice fly to close the scoring.

Hose threw 103 pitches for his seventh career shutout, and according to Reynolds would only come back in a relief role should the Hubs make the regional final, scheduled for Friday.

"I'm not going to risk a kid's arm when he's going to East Carolina," Reynolds said.

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