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Untiring Carey retires Mercersburg Academy

April 13, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - As the sky became darker and the wind became stronger Thursday night, Jefferson pitcher Justin Carey became better.

Carey gave up four runs on six hits over the first three innings, but gained command and retired 12 of the last 15 batters he faced to help the No. 3 Cougars to a 7-5 victory over No. 5 Mercersburg Academy.

"Nothing changed. My arm just got stronger and stronger," said Carey.

Two of those three Blue Storm batters who reached base did so on errors as Carey (2-1) allowed only one hit over the final four innings. The hit was a two-out single to left by Josh Davis that scored an unearned run and pulled Mercersburg to within two runs in the seventh. Carey closed the door on any potential Blue Storm rally by fanning clean-up hitter Josh Edgin on three called strikes.

"Having Justin pitch in that situation will help him immensely," said Jefferson coach John Lowery. "He had to pitch to the tying run and the clean-up hitter and he made some quality pitches.

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"We had two guys warming up, but in my mind he could still get through it. This will build his confidence as the season progresses."

Jefferson (11-1) boosted Carey's confidence with four runs in the fifth inning to take a 7-4 lead. Joe Wilt had a two-run double and Corie Gustines added an RBI single - two of only four Cougars hits in the game - which was plenty of cushion for Carey.

"It's not always how many hits you get, it's when you get them," said Lowery. "We used our speed on the bases to steal and we just made the most of what we had."

Matt Tiano also had a timely hit in the second inning when he poked a single to right field to score a pair of runs and give Jefferson a 3-1 lead.

Mercersburg (5-3) grabbed took a 4-3 lead in the third by turning an error and three hits into three runs.

Blue Storm starter Ryan Colby (1-2) was pulled in the fifth during the Jefferson surge. He yielded just three hits, but walked three and was let down by four fielding errors.

"We did not play well in the field," said Blue Storm coach Karl Reisner. "Walks and errors killed us. We just didn't execute."

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