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Top-seed Southern Garrett no match for Boonsboro

May 18, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - The Boonsboro baseball team received a few early presents from Southern Garrett on Monday afternoon and the Warriors had no problem unwrapping them and enjoying what they saw.

Southern ace Chris Smith gave up five walks in the first inning and the Warriors ripped the game open with three key hits on their way to a 6-2 win over the top-seeded Rams in the Class 1A West quarterfinals.

Boonsboro coach Brian Smith decided on lefthander Craig Henson as his starter against seven left-handed bats in Southern's lineup and the senior responded, just as he did two years ago when he pitched the state championship game during the Warriors' run to the 1A title.

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He pitched six innings, allowing only two hits and striking out seven before giving way to Jay Love, who retired the side in the seventh to put the Warriors (9-13) into Wednesday's semifinal at home against Beall.

"We talked to the players about having patience against Smith," Brian Smith said. "We knew if he didn't have control we could get to him."

Chris Smith had entered the game 6-1 this year and 17-2 over the past two seasons. Southern, which had won 17 of 18 this year, suffered its only other loss to a left-hander.

Smith walked Alex Malphrus, Jeremiah Mills had a 10-pitch at-bat before popping out and Corey Robinson and Love each walked to load the bases in the first.

Cody Poffenberger blooped a single down the right-field line for two runs and after Branden Painter walked, Matt Fortese jumped on Smith's first offering with a liner into left that hugged the line for two more runs. Justin Baylor capped the inning on a check-swing roller that he beat out at first.

"This is one of the first times this year we have actually gotten big hits with men in scoring position," Brian Smith said.

Chris Smith, who threw 60 pitches in the first inning, came back out to start the second, but didn't last long.

Mills led off with a single, Robinson reached on a fielding error and Mills scored on a single by Love for a 6-0 lead. After walking Poffenberger, Smith was lifted and reliever Scott Wildesen held the Warriors at bay the rest of the way on two hits.

Henson (3-3) opened the third inning with a pair of walks and a hit batsman before giving up a two-run double to Billy Reams. He came back in the fourth to get three pop-fly outs to Robinson at short and struck out the side in the fifth.

Smith made a visit to Henson after the Rams scored and said he told the lefty to "get yourself out of the inning. You know how to pitch."

Henson allowed only one more runner when Reams led off the sixth with a single.

"I just tried to get ahead with the fastball and then get them out with my slider and the slider was moving," said Henson, who has made a recovery from an early-season bout of tendinitis in his left elbow. "I wanted to keep the ball down low against their left-handers and throw strikes."

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