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Hubs rally to steal a victory from Leopards

April 30, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

Smithsburg had a victory in its hip pocket but forgot to do the right things at crunch time.

As far as North Hagerstown is concerned, the Hubs did the right things and made the Leopards pay for their late malfunctions to gain an 11-10 victory in eight innings on Friday.

With Smithsburg leading 10-9 and North batting with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth, Ashley Wilburn lifted a soft fly ball between Leopards center fielder Molly Powell and right fielder Dana Diehl.

Each waited for the other to make the catch that didn't happen, and Lauryn Lewis and Kelly Toms scampered across home plate to give North (4-10, 4-8 MVAL Antietam) its first two-game win streak of the season.

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"We have to take advantage of what breaks you get and we did that," said North coach Amanda Fleming. "Winning this game will help our confidence and we think we've got four winnable games left (starting with South on Monday)."

Three walks, a two-run single by Lewis and a walk to Emily Sirface set the stage for Wilburn's game-winner.

"For six innings, it was our best game of the year," said Smithsburg coach Brian Getz. "When (North) scores eight runs in the last two innings, you know they wanted it more. We had indecision in the field and gave them two extra outs."

North forged a 7-7 tie with a four-run seventh off Smithsburg pitcher Erika Mong, who was hurling with an upset stomach and deserved a better fate. The Hubs used singles by Cara Thompson and Lewis, a double by the hot-hitting Sirface and mental errors from Smithsburg - one on a throw by Candace Stanford attempting an ill-fated force play, the other on a dropped pop fly by Mong - to even the score.

Smithsburg (4-9, 3-9) took a 10-7 lead in the top of the eighth on a walk and a single by Kasie Beaver to load the bases (Diehl started the inning on second according to extra-inning rules). Candace Stanford tripled on a screamer to left-center to empty the bases before the Hubs put out the fire when Kelly Toms came in to relieve Lewis.

Sirface, one of North's seniors playing on Senior Night, was the hitting star for the Hubs. The diminutive catcher had a two-run single in the first inning, a run-scoring double in the third, a double in the sixth, another run-scoring double in the seventh and a bases-loaded walk in the eighth for a four-hit, five-RBI day. Three of her hits went to the opposite field.

"I just tried to take advantage of the outside pitches," Sirface said. "It was our night (as seniors) and we got it all together in the end. We were thinking there was no reason why we couldn't come back. ... We've done it before."

North defeated Smithsburg 18-5 two weeks ago, but Fleming said the difference in pitchers made it difficult in the beginning for the Hubs.

"(Diehl) pitched the first game for them and we were going after her first pitches," Fleming said. "We weren't able to do that right away against (Mong)."

Lewis had three hits and two RBI for North, while Stanford's bases-clearing triple finished her four-hit, five-RBI evening. Jessica Minnick added two hits for the Leopards and Kayla Martin had two RBI.

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