Hubs back in 2A West title game

May 18, 2006|by DAN KAUFFMAN

SYKESVILLE, Md. - North Hagerstown starter Marcellus Sumlin routinely did what South Carroll starter Mike Fisher couldn't Wednesday afternoon - find the plate.

While Fisher walked six Hubs and hit another in his brief start - failing to get out of the first inning, in which North scored five runs without a hit - Sumlin was around the plate and the defense behind him was exceptional as the Hubs moved within one win of their second straight Maryland Class 2A West regional title with a 6-2 victory over the Cavaliers.

At one point in the regular season, the wheels appeared to come off the Hubs' bus, as they lost five straight games to fall below .500. But North (13-9), the fourth seed, has won five in a row since that losing streak and will enter Friday's regional title game at Liberty with plenty of momentum.

"We had a long talk after the five losses," Hubs coach Shawn Reynolds said. "We went back to square one and started over. The season wasn't over, and we had time to turn it around."


South Carroll's season is over, undone by Fisher's wildness. He issued four bases-loaded walks and also hit a batter with the sacks packed. In all, he lasted just 10 hitters and two outs.

"We took advantage of his wildness," Reynolds said. "We didn't swing at bad pitches. It helped Marcellus, now he doesn't have to make a perfect pitch all the time. He had room to make a mistake."

Sumlin made only one - a fourth-inning, first-pitch solo homer he gave up to Matt Greene.

In all, Sumlin needed just 74 pitches to dispatch South Carroll, walking two. He didn't even need any strikeouts to twirl a gem.

"Since I knew I had a good defense behind me, I kept throwing strikes and getting ground balls," Sumlin said. "Their hitters were impatient at the plate, so all I had to do was throw strikes."

North's defense was much better than good - it was fantastic. Shortstop Justin Weaver and second baseman Freddie Kreiger turned three double plays, Kreiger made an over-the-shoulder grab of a shallow fly, third baseman Cody Nelling made a leaping grab of a line drive and - in the best play of them all - center fielder Mark Dattilio sprinted in to make a diving, basket grab of another shallow fly, tumbling head over heels but holding on.

"We turned three double plays, and that was big," Reynolds said. "Freddie makes an over-the-shoulder catch, Mark makes a diving grab. ... We played really well today, especially defensively."

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