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Murray no-hits South Mountain

July 09, 2006|by TYLER KAHL / Staff Correspondent

Nathan Murray was two walks away from pitching a perfect game Saturday, as he led West End past South Mountain 5-0 in the winners' bracket of the District 1 11-12 All-Star Tournament.

"I'm actually really happy with our offense," said South Mountain manager Danny Lewis. "We made solid contact, but those guys played great defense. That's just how it goes sometimes."

West End struggled to find holes as well until Matt Stambaugh smashed a grounder into right field for the only hit of the game in the bottom of the fifth. Stambaugh's hit spearheaded a four-run inning as West End capitalized on two walks and three errors to extend its lead to 5-0.

"We were driving the ball the the last game," said West End manager Michael Houser. "We normally hit well, but at least we got the one hit when it counted."

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While the West End hitters struggled to make solid contact, they had no trouble laying off bad pitches.

South Mountain's starter, left-hander Nathan Hardy, had the most trouble finding the strike zone, walking two batters in the first and two more to start the second. Hardy was relieved by Aaron Miranda, who worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam after an unearned run crossed the plate.

Justin Lewis finished the game for South Mountain, pitching flawlessly in the third and fourth innings until West End's four-run fifth.

"He is one of our top dogs," said Danny Lewis. "He pitched great. He just got unlucky with some unearned runs in that big inning."

The play of the West End infield, led by shortstop Aaron Stoner, was the highlight of the game. Stoner consistently fielded grounders from the outfield grass, showcasing his range and arm strength.

"Our defense was solid. We had no errors and that gave Nathan a lot of confidence," said Lewis. "We believe in three things here: Good pitching, good defense and putting the ball in play."

Two out of three got the job done for them Saturday.

Monday, West End will host National in a winners' bracket semifinal, while South Mountain will travel to American to play an elimination game.

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