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Berkeley experience outshines Shenandoah's

June 09, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. Age and experience are two often-related terms. With age, experience is gained. But the experience of Berkeley County Post 14 proved once again that age is only a number.

Post 14 took advantage of the inexperience of the Shenandoah Junction AAU team to pave the way toward a 17-4 victory at P.O. Faulkner Field on Thursday.

"Age-wise it was comparable," said Post 14 coach Steve Everhart of the two teams, "but skill-wise we may be a notch or two above them."

Shenandoah Junction posed as a fill-in when Post 14's original opponent - Farrady Post 24 from Frostburg, Md. - pulled out of the game three days ago due to personnel reasons. Shenandoah showed up with a team that has seen mostly junior varsity action, while Berkeley bodes some of the county's best varsity players. The experience levels proved true as Post 14 took advantage of eight walks, six errors and three hit batsmen to turn what was hoped to be a test game into a rout.

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"If a couple of their kids can find the strike zone and field the ball, it's a different game," Everhart said. "I was hoping the guys would take them lightly and we would have to play catch up."

But it was Shenandoah that was forced to play catch up. Berkeley (2-0) jumped ahead in the first inning after three straight walks to load the bases. One batter later, Justin Combs blasted a Nathan Mauck pitch over the left-center field fence to give Post 14 a quick 4-0 lead.

Shenandoah showed signs of competing in the second when it turned five hits into three runs to close to within 4-3. Then Berkeley dashed any hopes of a competitive game with six runs in the bottom half of the frame that featured all three of the hit batsmen. Through two full innings Post 14 led 10-3 while posting only four hits.

Shenandoah got a run back in the third with the help of two Post 14 errors to make it a 10-4 deficit, but that was the last time it would score - or even threaten. Berkeley pitching held Shenandoah hitless over the final four innings with just one baserunner. Jesse Simmons (1-0) retired the final 11 batters he faced and Combs pitched the seventh to close out the win.

"We put Jesse in to get some mound time with some of our other guys gone," Everhart said. "Once he settled in he really started to click."

While clearly playing conservatively on the basepaths, Post 14 still added to its lead in each of the final four innings. Brandon King homered in the third and Berkeley added two runs in the fourth to lead 14-4 and incite the 10-run mercy rule that takes effect in the seventh inning.

Kevin Griffin, Aaron Whitford and Jake Wines each finished with two hits. Combs finished with five RBI, while King added three.

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