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Cougars hold winless Eagles hitless

April 01, 2007|By JOHN O'BRIEN

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - The good news for the Hedgesville baseball team is it played its finest defensive game of the year Saturday against Jefferson.

The bad news is the Eagles still committed four errors, and their offense didn't help either.

Two Jefferson pitchers combined to no-hit Hedgesville in a 10-0 win that lasted only five innings because of the mercy rule, sending the Eagles to their fifth straight loss to start the season.

"We're sitting here at 0-5," Eagles coach Ben Merica said. "I can't tell you the last time a Hedgesville baseball team lost five damn games in a row.

"This was just probably, out of all the games we played, just more lackluster than any of the others."

That wasn't the case for Jefferson's starting pitcher, Sean Adam. The senior right-hander did not allow a hit in 4 2/3 innings, and Bryan Maxfield recorded the final out after Adam experienced some control problems.

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Perfect through the first three innings, Adam (1-0) walked two in the fourth, though one was caught stealing and the other was doubled off on an inning-ending line drive.

In the fifth, he walked two of the four batters he faced, prompting a pitching change. Jefferson coach John Lowery said he was unaware that Adam had a no-hitter working.

"Truthfully, I didn't want to see him walk any more," Lowery said. "That's how teams can come back. You walk three guys then somebody hits one in the gap, and it's 7-3."

For proof of that, Jefferson (4-1) need only look at its opponent. Hedgesville pitchers walked 11 batters, six of whom came around to score.

"They gotta understand the value of getting on base," Lowery said. "You get on base, the pitcher has to go from the stretch, the infielders are moving around, you can hit a ball in the dirt and advance.

"The objective is to get on base and score runs."

The Cougars scored one in the first when Matt Tiano drew a leadoff walk from Aaron Price (0-1) and later scored on a wild pitch.

In the second, Jefferson added four runs. Chris Kelly's bunt single was thrown into right field, allowing Bobby O'Donnell to score, then Adam's sacrifice fly scored Colton Gustines. Gustines and O'Donnell had both walked to reach base.

To cap the inning's scoring, Drew Stevens knocked in two with a single to center field, making it 5-0.

Kelly and Adam both walked in the third, and Justin Grantham's single to left field scored Kelly and courtesy runner Aaron Frazee.

Needing three runs to activate the mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth, Grantham knocked a run-scoring single, Andrew Rotruck scored Grantham with a groundball that was thrown away and Frazee ended the game with a single that scored Drew Stevens.

Tiano and Grantham both walked twice and singled twice at the top of the Cougar order.

Greg Lyman pitched 1 2/3 innings for the Eagles, giving up a run. Matt Laign pitched to five batters, allowing two hits and two runs. His defense committed two errors behind him.

The game did not count toward sectional standings, as it was essentially a pickup game. Notre Dame of Clarksburg was scheduled to play Jefferson on Friday and both teams Saturday, but cancelled the trip because the team did not have enough pitchers to throw over the weekend.

"I've never heard of that before," Lowery said.

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