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'Sheriff' lays down law for 'Cats

May 22, 2004|By TIM KOELBLE

WILLIAMSPORT - Williamsport's Andy Taylor pulled out the handcuffs and played the part of his namesake in "The Andy Griffith Show."

Known as "The Sheriff" by his teammates, Taylor shackled Boonsboro on five hits and struck out 11 to propel the Wildcats to a 3-1 victory and the Class 1A West championship on Friday.

Williamsport (20-3) returns to the state semifinals for the first time since 1999 on Tuesday at McCurdy Field in Frederick when it takes on North region champ Havre De Grace, a 7-6 winner over Sparrows Point, at 4 p.m.

The Wildcats, after a 17-hit attack Thursday, were held to two hits by Boonsboro's Craig Henson, who pitched effectively on three days rest.

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However, an unearned run in the fourth inning by Williamsport knotted the score at 1-1 and the Wildcats plated two unearned runs in the fifth inning. Taylor (6-0) made it stand up with his first complete game of the year, throwing 125 pitches.

"I was nervous in the beginning, but I got warmed up," Taylor said. "About the third inning, I started hitting my stride and went to more curve balls."

After striking out the first two Warriors he faced, Corey Robinson singled, stole second and scored on Jay Love's bloop single to right on a 3-2 count.

Henson (3-3) opened the fourth with a walk to Josh Bowers, who stole second. After two outs, Bowers took off for third and Will Roney grounded to short, where Robinson bobbled the ball and hesitated on his throw to first. Bowers never stopped as he rounded third and scored.

David Warrenfeltz walked to open the Williamsport fifth and pinch runner Tyler Beard was sacrificed to second and made it to third on a wild pitch.

Robinson then booted Leo Schill's grounder, scoring Beard. After an out, Ben Jordan singled to left and Alex Malphrus overran the ball, allowing Schill to reach third. Schill scored when Henson threw a wild pitch with Bowers at bat.

"I thought about taking Andy out after the sixth inning, but Nick (Adenhart) said he thought he still had plenty of gas," said Williamsport coach Rod Steiner. "He cut down on his stride to the plate and that made a difference."

Taylor recorded seven of his strikeouts in the last four innings. Earlier in the season, Taylor was the winning pitcher in a 5-0 victory over the Warriors.

"We sat down and went over the videotape from the first game I pitched against them," Taylor said. "They are a good fastball hitting team, so we had to go in and out off-speed on them."

Boonsboro (10-14) came up just short with a young team that developed over the course of the season.

"We're just going to continue to work on this program down through the JV's and the kids," coach Brian Smith said. "Williamsport was supposed to get this far and we weren't. Henson battled and Taylor has to be one of the top 10 pitchers in the state."

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