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Trojans win Pa. baseball title

June 19, 2004|By ANDREW MASON

HARRISBURG, PA.

Bob Thomas has guided the Chambersburg baseball team to 676 victories in his 40 years as the Trojans' head coach.

Three of those wins stand out from the rest. And none was bigger than the last.

Chambersburg capped the 20th anniversary season of its first PIAA Class AAA state championship by winning its third state title. The Trojans, state champions in 1984 and 1999 and runners-up in 1979, knocked off Peters Township 12-5 in the championship game Friday at Commerce Bank Park.

"It's just as nice as the others," Thomas said. "But this one was easier because we were so far ahead."

Clinging to a 2-1 lead, Chambersburg (25-4) broke open the game by sending 14 batters to the plate and scoring nine runs - more runs than they scored in their other three trips to the finals combined - against three Indians pitchers in the bottom of the fourth inning for a commanding 11-1 advantage.

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"I didn't expect it to be that easy of a game, but I knew we'd score some runs," said designated hitter Andrew Burke, who sparked the fourth-inning rally with a solo home run and added an RBI single before Peters Township (18-8) recorded the third out.

Catcher Andy Carter tripled, singled and drove in two runs and first baseman Josh Frey had two singles and an RBI in the eight-hit outburst. Frey and left fielder Tyler Brown each finished with a game-high three hits.

"Whenever you get hitting, it can be contagious. That was an inning it became contagious," Thomas said. "When they made a bad pitch, we hit it, and it snowballed on them."

The 10-run cushion was more than enough for Chambersburg senior ace Irvin Sleighter (12-0), who pitched a complete-game five-hitter with nine strikeouts.

Sleighter also went 2-for-3 with three RBI. He hit a deep two-run home run over the left-field wall in the bottom of the first inning to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead.

"It felt good to go out with a state championship on the line and produce," Sleighter said. "I wasn't expecting to hit a home run. I was just trying to drive the ball. ... Burke's home run was also big."

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