Shifler's smash gives Funkstown split

May 28, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER/Staff Correspondent

FUNKSTOWN - Cam Shifler's high school baseball career came to an end last week, but the Boonsboro senior picked up where he left off for Funkstown Post 211 on Saturday.

Shifler pitched two hitless innings in the opener and capped his day with a walk-off, two-run home run in the second game to help Funkstown to a 7-6 victory and an American Legion doubleheader split with Nor-Gwyn at Funkstown Memorial Park.

Despite Shifler's pitching efforts in the first game, Funkstown fell, 9-0. But he helped salvage the split with a one-out blast over the high fence in left-center field.

"It was a fastball down the gut," Shifler said. "He threw me two curveballs before that so I kind of expected a fastball."


He shook off a three-pitch strikeout in his previous at-bat, but made up for it with his third hit in the game.

That bomb would never have come to fruition if it weren't for a popout by Jere Mills one batter earlier. Trailing 6-5, Justin Weaver singled to lead off the seventh and Funkstown coach Brian Smith nearly decided to bunt Mills to move the tying run into scoring position. Instead, Mills popped out to Nor-Gwyn shortstop Mark Renda for the first out of the inning.

"We were probably going to go for the tie if (Mills) doesn't pop out," Smith said. "We would have tried move the runner to second with (Shifler) and (Dave) Warrenfeltz coming up with a chance to tie."

Funkstown (3-1) was forced to tie or win after Nor-Gwyn took the lead in the top of the seventh. Renda hit a leadoff infield single, stole second and moved to third on a groundout by Matt Angelillis. He scored on a Brendan Fanslau single to give the Hawks a 6-5 lead. That hit bumped starting pitcher Jason Sutherland from the mound in favor of Andrew Blickenstaff, who got the final two outs for his second win of the season.

"Jason kept us in it and battled all day long," Smith said. "I wanted to save Blickenstaff (for today) but we needed to get out of it."

Joe Conaway led Nor-Gwyn with three hits in the second game, including a two-run home run in the first inning. Funkstown cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the inning when Freddie Kreiger scored on a wild pitch.

Funkstown took the lead in the second when Cody Poffenberger scored on a fielder's choice by Kreiger and Blickenstaff scored on Chris Greenwood's throwing error for a 3-2 Funkstown advantage.

Shifler singled home Matt Ridenour in the third, but Nor-Gwyn came back in the top of the fourth with run-scoring singles by Greenwood and Pat Rider to tie the game at 4-4.

Matt Murray hit a run-scoring single to regain the Funkstown lead at 5-4 in the bottom of the fourth, but Conaway struck once again with an RBI single in the fifth to knot it at 5-5.

Sutherland retired the side in the sixth before being forced out in the seventh. Still, he fared much better than Funkstown's relievers in the first-game loss. Shifler and Kent Worthington each pitched two scoreless innings to start the game, but both were pulled due to rest concerns as both will play in the Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches (MSABC) Classic today.

Kreiger entered the game in the fifth and loaded the bases after an error and two walks. He got out of the inning on a ground ball to third baseman Alex Bust, who made it interesting with a wide throw to Murray at first base causing a collision, but Murray held onto the ball to save a run.

But no one could save the runs in the sixth. Kreiger gave up a leadoff infield single and a run-scoring double to give Nor-Gwyn the first lead at 1-0. After a popout, Kreiger induced a ground ball that should have ended the inning, but Bust made another bad throw to extend the inning. One batter later, Matt Byers dropped a fly ball to center that scored two more runs. Nor-Gwyn ended the inning with five runs - four unearned. Funkstown finished the game with four errors.

"It's still early and it's a new situation for a lot of guys," Smith said. "Some are still trying to get used to some bounces. It will get better."

Nor-Gwyn tacked on four more runs off Justin Weaver in the seventh to turn what was a grind-it-out game into a rout.

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