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Applemen knock off Gaels for first win of year

March 23, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

The Musselman baseball team had an afternoon of 'firsts' Wednesday and one came in the form of victory as the Applemen dealt St. Maria Goretti an 8-6 loss.

After two losses to start the season, the Applemen rallied with a three-run sixth inning to topple the Gaels before the game was called due to darkness.

Two juniors in their first varsity season made an impact for Musselman in the decisive sixth inning.

With one out, Brett Haynes launched a rocket over the fence in right field to tie the score at 6-6. Justin May coaxed a walk from Goretti's Ryan Lipella and Jesse Miner smacked an opposite-field double to right.

Josh Hess lifted a pop fly over short that fell between backpedaling Will Murray and oncoming outfielders David Bowen and J.J. O'Neill for a two-run single that gave Musselman the 8-6 lead.

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After putting some fuel on Goretti's five-run fourth inning, relief pitcher Alex Loizos responded with two innings of scoreless work to record his first varsity win.

"Haynes is a solid hitter and when he stays back on the ball he's tough," said Musselman coach Jeff Sipole.

"(Loizos) was shaky when he came in but settled down and that will be a confidence boost for him."

Loizos entered in the fourth in favor of Philip Butler, who is working his way back from arm surgery in October 2005.

Goretti (0-2) scored five runs to take a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth on RBI hits by Will Murray and Bowen off of Butler and Kevin Brashears and O'Neill off of Loizos, who also threw a wild pitch that allowed Brashears to score.

Loizos settled after that, striking out three over the next two innings.

O'Neill struck out four in three innings of work, yielding four Musselman runs in the third on only one hit but two Goretti errors. Lipella, a senior pitching for the first time since he was a freshman, took the loss.

"I was happy how (O'Neill and Lipella) each threw," said Goretti coach Mike Brashears. "Our effort was good today. We put the ball in play and we played well against a very good team."

Miner, Brad Mason and Bradley Barrett each had two hits for Musselman. Mason and Hess each had two RBI.

"Miner and Hess are our two contact hitters," said Sipole. "If we can get them on base then we can come along with (Mark) Darlington and (Justin) Combs in the middle of the order."

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