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Hubs salvage a split from long day

March 27, 2005|By TIM KOELBLE

Victory was the recipe that helped make a long day palatable for the North Hagerstown baseball team Saturday.

It also helped make a cold, dreary day seem a bit warmer, considering it became a nine-hour ordeal from preparing the field until recording the final out of two extra-inning games.

The Hubs went nine innings in their second game to defeat Westminster, 5-4, after blowing a 10-3 lead in a 12-11 eight-inning loss to Long Reach in the opener of the Chuck Zonis Easter Tournament.

"Winning the second game was very important," said North coach Shawn Reynolds. "We certainly didn't want two losses heading into the league opener (Wednesday vs. Williamsport)."


North (2-2) nearly blew another lead against Westminster. The Hubs took a 4-1 lead in the fourth, highlighted by B.J. Soto's run-scoring single, before the Owls (1-2) came back in the bottom of the inning for three runs off starter Brian Barnhart.

Reynolds turned to Matt Ridenour after Barnhart went six innings on 75 pitches, and Ridenour answered the bell with three scoreless innings, while North punched across a run in the top of the ninth.

Soto led off the ninth with his second single of the game, went to second as Chris Grove grounded out and remained in scoring position as Justin Weaver, who had two hits in the game, struck out.

Matt Murray hit a soft liner into short right-center field, but Westminster's Ryan Barnett failed to call off back-peddling second baseman Tim Evelius and the ball fell off the tip of a diving Barnett's glove, enabling Soto to score.

Ridenour, who allowed only a bunt single and struck out two, then retired the Owls in order for his first win.

"I was really pleased with how (Ridenour) threw the ball after his outing Thursday (against Frederick)," said Reynolds.

Barnhart said he wasn't throwing at 100 percent, but he did manage to work on some aspects of his game.

"I wasn't throwing hard, maybe 80 percent," said Barnhart, who struck out two and walked only one. "I was working more on location and taking something off the fastball. When I do that, the ball moves a little more."

As one of the mainstays of North's pitching staff, Barnhart is looking forward to the season.

"I think we've got a good offensive and defensive team and I'm looking forward to a lot of the pitching matchups I'll have," Barnhart said. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity."

Murray homered and had a pair of hits and Ridenour had two hits in the opener, but North's pitching played the gratuity role, handing Long Reach 11 walks.

Five of the walks came in the sixth inning in junior Chris Palmer's varsity debut. The Hubs lost in the eighth on an unearned run behind two errors.

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