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Smithsburg warms up with first victory behind Tyler

April 10, 2007|by TIM KOELBLE

SMITHSBURG - Smithsburg's offense continued to take a siesta on Monday afternoon.

Fortunately for the Leopards, the left arm of Kevin Tyler was a little more lively.

Tyler scattered six hits and pitched out of a dangerous situation in the seventh inning to lead Smithsburg to its first win of the season, a 4-1 victory over Hancock.

Tyler (1-2) struck out four and walked none on an afternoon when the temperature didn't exceed 40 degrees, especially with the wind chill. He did not wear a coat between innings.

"I stayed warm by moving around and being active and by batting," said Tyler.

Tyler was in complete command until the seventh.

Hancock's Jacob Foreman and Danny Mauk opened with back-to-back singles and Willie Powell reached on an error by Smithsburg shortstop Kevin Kocsis that loaded the bases.

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Nick Harvey followed with a single to score Foreman, putting the Panthers in prime position to at least forge a tie.

However, Mike Clingerman knocked a hopper at Tyler, who began a home-to-first double play. Logan True then bounced the first pitch he saw back to Tyler, who tossed to first to end the potential uprising.

"(Kevin) has pitched well in each of his three outings and it was good to see him match his efforts with a win," said Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes. "And, he showed he's pretty good defensively."

On the day, Tyler had six assists.

"My two-seam fastball worked best, but my arm started to get a little tired in the last inning," said Tyler. "I went to a straight fastball. I knew (Hancock) couldn't make solid contact."

Smithsburg (1-4) scored in the first and fifth innings, getting help both times from Hancock (1-5).

Two errors were sandwiched around a single by Tyler in the first inning that enabled Ben Walzl to score the first run.

Then, Smithsburg scored three in the fifth without the benefit of a hit. A walk, error, two stolen bases, a wild pitch and sacrifice fly by Josh Conway made it 2-0. Another Hancock error, a hit batter and two more walks gave Smithsburg a 4-0 lead through five innings.

"We shot ourselves in the foot," said Hancock coach Brian Kerns. "We have not been ready to play in the first inning in any game yet this year. We're going to start using the Boy Scout motto and be prepared."

Clingerman pitched well for the Panthers and deserved a better outcome. The junior lefty kept Smithsburg off balance with an array of curves and changeups. He struck out five and walked four.

"When he keeps the ball low he gives us a chance to win and he did that today," said Kerns.

Kocsis, despite making his first errors of the year with miscues in the sixth and seventh innings, made the plays of the game in the fourth inning.

With one out and a runner at second, Tyler slowed down a bouncer off Foreman's bat and Kocsis raced in to make the play with a strong throw to first. Then, he took another bouncer that deflected off Tyler's glove, stepped past second base, fielded and threw in one motion to retire Mauk.

"We had some great defense from Tyler and behind him," said Fowkes.

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