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Key hits at key times lift Musselman to 'W'

May 04, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

Musselman racked up 11 hits Wednesday night against St. Maria Goretti, but it was the timing of two of the hits that paid dividends for the Applemen.

Justin Combs and Jesse Miner came up with a pair of two-out drives to the spacious Municipal Stadium outfield that fell in for a pair of two-run doubles, fueling the way to a 5-2 Musselman victory.

"I'm very happy with the way we hit the ball tonight," said Applemen coach Jeff Sibole. "We faced a quality pitcher for Goretti and we got the hits when we needed them. This is what we want to see against Jefferson (today) and coming up for sectionals."

Musselman (15-12) opened the game with three solid hits. Miner led off with a double to right-center field and Ethan French followed with a bloop single to left to put runners on the corners. Two outs later, Combs blasted a David Plank pitch to deep center to score both runners and give the Applemen a quick 2-0 lead.

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A third-inning RBI groundout by Kenny Remsberg gave Musselman a 3-1 lead and Miner essentially put the game away in the sixth. Brett Haynes opened things up with a single to center and one batter later moved to third on a fielder's choice by Brad Barrett. Then, again with two outs and runners on the corners, Miner came up and drilled a fly ball to center. Gaels center fielder Ryan Lipella tracked the ball down, but had it fall just out of his reach for a two-run double to increase the lead to 5-1.

"They hit the ball really well and in key positions," said Goretti coach Mike Brashears. "They hit better with men in scoring position."

Early in the game, the Gaels (7-11) appeared ready to match runs with the Applemen. In the bottom of the first, Goretti leadoff hitter Kevin Brashears smacked the first pitch he saw to deep right-center for a triple. He scored on a seeing-eye single by Ryan Wilson.

The Goretti bats remained active - Gaels hitters struck out just twice - but the balls put in play just would not fall. From a sliding catch in the outfield to a hit-and-run gone awry, the Gaels couldn't avoid the Musselman defense, which seemed to be smothering the diamond.

"They're the breaks of the game. We took some good swings, but found some bodies," Mike Brashears said.

Kevin Brashears had a chance to make some noise with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth, but struck out swinging.

The Gaels mounted a two-out rally in the seventh, but came up with only one run on an RBI single by Lipella. J.J. O'Neill, who scored in the seventh, had two hits. Plank struck out 10 in the complete-game loss.

Miner and winning pitcher Brad Mason each doubled twice for the Applemen. Combs and Haynes also had two hits each.

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