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Pioneer spirit

Anne Arundal takes new frontier to tame Hawks

Anne Arundal takes new frontier to tame Hawks

April 13, 2007|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

What the Anne Arundel Community College baseball team was able to do Thursday, is exactly what Hagerstown was unable to accomplish.

The Pioneers got base hits in clutch situations while the pitching staff found just the right pitch to stop HCC scoring opportunities.

Combine that with four errors - and a pair of base-running blunders - and the result was a heartbreaking 3-2 Maryland JuCo Conference loss.

"We had the ball bouncing our way today," said Pioneers manager Gary Gubbings. "We made the big plays at the big times, but that's what you have to do to win the close ones."

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Matt Ridenour, Hagerstown's hardluck starter, had a no-hitter through the fourth. The beginning of the end started when Max Eckert was hit by a pitch to open the fifth. Anthony Jackson followed with a bunt that was fielded cleanly by Ridenour, but his throw to second glanced off the glove of shortstop Cory Livengood to allow runners to reach first and second safely.

After Sean Dolan popped out to Ridenour, Matt Moylan grounded to Livengood, who touched second for a force, but was late on the relay throw to first, putting runners on first and third.

Steve Phillips broke up Ridenour's no-hitter with a solid single to left to snap the scoreless tie.

The seventh inning was eerily similar. Eckert was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Jackson reached on a Tyler Beard error. Jesse Wiggington then sacrificed the runners to second and third before Moylan collected the second hit for the Pioneers (17-14) and their second run of the game.

Roland Thiele's one-out double and a Corey Eisenhart triple to right plated the Hawks' first run in the sixth. Matt Murray singled, followed by a walk and a flyout to set up Matt Byers' sacrifice fly to move HCC into a 2-2 tie in the eighth.

Anne Arundel loaded the bases with three singles with one out in the ninth. Moylan executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt for the winning run.

The Hawks (17-14) missed a golden opportunity to score in the fifth, when James Scarberry drew a one-out walk and moved the second on a wild pitch.

Pioneers starter Duane Herr then turned a faked pickoff attempt. While Herr was holding the ball, the Pioneers outfielders were sprinting toward second base and the AACC players in the dugout started shouting. With all the noise, Scarberry was unable to hear HCC coach Scott Jennings shouting for him to stay on second base. Herr easily tagged out Scarberry. Unfortunately for HCC, Livengood and Beard followed with singles.

"We made a couple critical baserunning mistakes that took us out of innings," said Jennings. "That trick play definitely cost us a run."

Anne Arundel closer Peters (3-0) was credited with the win, while Hawks reliever Steven Smith (3-3) took the loss.

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