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Playoff Beard

Infielder helps Williamsport groom Beall in 1A West

Infielder helps Williamsport groom Beall in 1A West

May 17, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

WILLIAMSPORT - Tyler Beard made a mental mistake in the first inning, but it was the only faux pas he - or any of his teammates - made on Tuesday.

Williamsport opened its second season with a near-perfect 7-0 victory over Beall in the Maryland Class 1A West Region tournament, the sixth straight win for the resurgent Wildcats. The win also exacted a bit of revenge from last season when Beall knocked out Williamsport (12-9) in the region finals.

Beard went 4-for-4, scored three runs, stole three bases, had a hand in both of Williamsport's double plays and was in another key play that helped pushed the momentum to the Wildcats.

"I saw the ball real well at the plate," said Beard. "And Coach has preached to us how much defense means in winning games."

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Beard had a first-inning single and stole second, but his enthusiasm got the best of him as he was gunned down trying to pilfer third.

"I tried to do too much," he said. "I just wanted to get on base and make something happen."

When he did, Beard stayed on base to help the Wildcats support pitcher Aerik Taylor both offensively and defensively in their first game in 11 days.

Taylor struck out 10 Mountaineers, including seven the first time through the batting order. He allowed four hits and walked two, but Beall (10-10) stranded only two runners because of Williamsport's defense.

"I threw fastballs to the low and outside corner the first time around the order," said Taylor, who will head to Oklahoma State in the fall. "I mixed it up after that."

Beall threatened in the third on a single by Cory Creig and a two-out single by Matte Forte. Beall coach Terry DeHaven called for a double-steal attempt, but Taylor reacted quickly. Fiorita broke for second, all the while keeping an eye to see if Creig breaks for home.

Suddenly, Creig made the move after Taylor threw to Beard at second. Beard fired a strike to catcher A.J. Jamison, who applied the tag on Creig.

"That was a big energy boost for us," said Williamsport coach Larnie Vickers. "And then to come out and score ... that's the mental aspect of the game you have to take advantage of."

And, it was Beard who ignited a two-out rally with a single to left and a stolen base. Jamison walked and Phil Jordan sent Beard across the plate with a looping single to center and a 1-0 lead.

Beall's Josh Plummer led off the fourth with a single but Logan Thomas hit into a swift 5-4-3 double play.

Williamsport went to work against the starter Creig in the fifth with a four-spot with Beard opening the uprising with a single and stolen base.

After Jordan walked, Taylor drilled a double to score Beard. Jason Sutherland drove in Jordan with a sacrifice fly and moved Taylor to third, allowing him to score on a wild pitch.

Following a three-base error that put Chad Bikle at third, Ryan Heavner singled to cap the scoring.

The Wildcats added two in the sixth as Beard doubled and Jamison and Jordan followed with singles.

"Wins and losses are not so important at the beginning of the year, it's how you get it done at the end," said Vickers. "Right now we're playing solid defense and getting clutch hitting and pitching."

Williamsport plays at Northern Garrett, a 7-0 winner over Westmar, today. Vickers expected to start Sutherland in the 1A West semifinals.

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