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Hubs give Titans history lesson

March 23, 2005|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

In a historic game for the Tuscarora baseball team, history was on the side of North Hagerstown.

The defending MVAL Antietam champion Hubs came back from an early deficit to take an 11-6 nonconference victory over the visiting Titans in the season opener for each team Tuesday. It was Tuscarora's first game as a varsity program.

"Losing 11-6 to a team that historically wins baseball games, for the most part I'm happy," Tuscarora coach Jason Smith said. "It was our first varsity game, and they're picked to win the league again this year. ... We're going to take our lumps early and we know that. We just have to work on coming back."

Matt Ridenour went 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and four RBI to lead North. Two of Ridenour's hits came in the fourth inning, in which the Hubs sent 12 batters to the plate and scored seven runs - all coming with two outs - to turn their 2-1 deficit into an 8-2 advantage. The big blows in the rally were B.J. Soto's three-run double, Ridenour's two-run double and Justin Weaver's RBI single.

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"That two-out rally, that's big," Ridenour said. "We just needed to see some live pitches. It just took us a few innings to get everyone's nerves calmed down and get it started."

After giving up a two-out, two-run double to Ian Burks in the top of the first, North starter Brian Barnhart (1-0) didn't allow a run over the next four innings. In his five innings, Barnhart gave up five hits, three walks and struck out five.

"I thought Barnhart threw the ball well for his first time out," North coach Shawn Reynolds said.

The Titans got back in the game against reliever Jacey McElroy in the sixth, using two walks, two errors, a sacrifice fly from Brandon Whipp and a two-run double by Derek Kohler to plate four runs and cut the score to 8-6.

The Hubs answered with three runs in the bottom half of the sixth against Nick Meekins, Tuscarora's fourth pitcher of the game. Weaver started the rally with a one-out single, Matt Murray followed with a double and both scored on a single to center by Ridenour, who eventually came home on an error.

"It's just like last year. We'll get a lead and then kind of coast," Reynolds said. "We set and set and then all of the sudden the kids explode."

Kohler, the Titans' starter, went three-plus innings in the loss. He took a 2-0 lead into third before Chris Grove ripped a two-out triple to center for the Hubs' first hit and scored on a balk.

Spencer Barrick had two of Tuscarora's six hits.

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