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Griffin reaches high point leading 'Dogs

April 07, 2007|By JOHN O'BRIEN

BUNKER HILL, W.Va. - Kevin Griffin has seen his share of low points at the plate this season, and Friday was no different for the Martinsburg catcher.

This time, though, he got mad enough to do something about it.

Griffin homered and drove in five runs as Martinsburg beat Musselman for the second time in nine days, 12-4.

Mired in a season-long slump, Griffin, a three-year starter, watched Applemen first baseman Ricky Frame leap over the first base-side fence to nab his foul popup in the third inning.

"I've felt cheated all year," said Griffin, who recorded his first multihit game of the year and admitted the play ticked him off "a little bit well, actually a lot."

He released that frustration in the fourth inning with a three-run home run that gave the Bulldogs (9-2) a 7-3 lead. Later, he knocked in two runs with a fifth-inning double and capped his game with a single in the seventh.

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Griffin ended his day 3-for- 5, and the home run was his first.

"Hopefully this was a breakout game for him," Martinsburg coach John Lowery Jr. said. "I think this is his first multi-hit game of the year. He's been in a slump, to be honest."

The slump included what Griffin feels was his worst moment of the season, which came Monday night in a 6-2 loss at Jefferson.

"I hit one 380 feet that Justin Grantham dove for and caught over his back," Griffin said.

Griffin was one of four Bulldogs with a multi-hit game, and Musselman's defense had trouble turning routine plays into outs. The Applemen (5-5) committed four errors.

"We performed awful," Coach Jeff Sibole said. "With the good teams we play, if we make errors we're going to get beat."

The first one may have been the costliest, as Josh Goforth dropped T.J. Weisenburg's third-inning two-out fly ball in left field to allow Zach Newhouse and Brandon King to score the first two runs of the game.

Later in the inning, Ryan Bennett reached on third baseman Blaine Coates' error that brought Weisenburg home. Spike Geffert followed with an RBI double for a 4-0 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Musselman answered with three runs. Martinsburg left fielder Ryan Bennett's error on Mark Darlington's flyball scored Jesse Miner, who had doubled. Jeremy Cunningham, who went 3-for-4, knocked home Darlington and Ryan LaRose with a single.

Griffin's home run pushed the lead to 7-3 the following inning, and his two-run doubled plated Geffert and Jordan Mason in the fifth for a 9-3 lead.

Paul Chenoweth improved to 3-0 for Martinsburg, pitching five innings and striking out four. He allowed three runs - two earned - four walks and seven hits. Geffert pitched the final two innings.

Alex Loizos (0-2) took the loss for the Applemen. He pitched three innings, allowing three hits and four runs -- none earned. He walked four and struck out two. Frame gave up eight runs in relief, and Coates recorded four scoreless outs to finish the game.

"Until we're able to play errorless baseball, we're going to keep beating the average teams and losing to the good ones," Sibole said.

Mason was 2-for-4 with two runs for the Bulldogs, while Newhouse went 2-for-5 with two runs, and Gefert went 2- for-4 with two runs, an RBI a two stolen bases.

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