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Hancock, Clear Spring split openers

March 22, 2005|by BILL STERNER/Staff Correspondent

HANCOCK - On a day that was better suited for icicles than popsicles, Hancock and Clear Spring threw out the first pitches of their 2005 baseball and softball seasons.

Before a surprisingly large crowd bundled up like it was at a football game, the Hancock softball team used its hot bats to win 15-1 in five innings, while the Clear Spring baseball team used a five-run fifth inning to break open a close game and win easily, 12-3.

n Shortstop Aimee Barton went 3-for-3, scored four runs and drove in three as the Hancock softball plated 11 runs in the first three innings and never looked back.

"We don't have an overabundance of players, but the girls we have play hard all the time," said Hancock coach Heather Creek-Martin, whose team dressed just 12 players.

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The Panthers ran the bases aggressively and swung the bats the same way as they broke on top early, scoring a half-dozen runs on just a single hit.

"We will always be aggressive on the bases until we get ahead," Creek-Martin said. "We can't afford injuries, but that won't slow us down either."

Hancock's Adrienne Kesecker was effective in her first start, on a day where the mercury dipped below freezing by the end of the game. Kesecker had eight strikeouts and no walks.

n In the baseball game, the Blazers plated four runs early and led 4-3 at the end of three innings. Blazers starter Scott Keeney, who struck out the first six batters he faced, wore the Panthers down and his teammates took over, hammering in seven runs over the next two innings to take control.

Keeney had nine strikeouts over his four innings.

"This was a good win for us, for our school," Clear Spring coach Mark Shives said. "I mean, we have had a rough year in our boys athletics so I was glad the kids played this well."

"We are awfully young and we are going to make mistakes," Hancock coach Brian Kerns said. "We played with them for the first three innings."

Once Panthers starter Andy Morris settled, he had little trouble on the mound until the fifth.

"Andy pitched his guts out," Kerns said. "For a cold day like this and our first game, I'm pleased with how hard he worked."

Sophomore Josh Finney led the Panthers, going 2-for-3.

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