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Blazers get some home protection

April 20, 2007|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

CLEAR SPRING - The Clear Spring baseball team finally snapped out of its home offensive slump Thursday night against Smithsburg.

The Blazers pounded out 10 hits and took advantage of a wild Leopards pitching staff as they rolled to a 12-1 victory in five innings.

"We finally put the bat on the ball," Blazers coach Mark Shives said. "We've had a rough couple of games here at home, so it was nice to see some offense."

Clear Spring (4-3, 2-3 MVAL Antietam) scored just three runs in each of its last three home games (1-2). But the Blazers matched that trend after only the first inning.

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John Mason, Aaron Mills and Jordan Thurber each singled and scored as the Blazers pulled ahead 3-1.

Clear Spring poured in five more in the second inning against three different Leopards pitchers. Mills' two-run single spelled the exit of starter Jared Daniels, and Travis Hays entered and immediately got an out. But he followed with five straight walks and Clear Spring sent 11 batters to the plate before Josh Conway came in and got the third out. Conway pitched the third and Jake Staebler pitched a scoreless fourth.

"This is our worst effort all year," Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes said. "We threw four pitchers at them. And hats off to Clear Spring, they hit them."

Mason and Mills reached base and scored for the third straight time when each singled to open the bottom of the third. Both crossed the plate on wild pitches to put Clear Spring up 10-1, and the Blazers incited the 10-run rule when John Kehr scored on an error and Josh Kehr scored on another wild pitch.

Mills led the Blazers with three hits, while Mason and John Kehr each had two.

"Our philosophy is to be aggressive," Shives said. "And since we haven't been scoring runs, we had to take that to the next level on the bases and at the plate."

The aggressiveness paid off and it was plenty for John Kehr to pick up his second win. After giving up a run-scoring double to Kevin Kocsis in the first inning, Kehr settled in and scattered four hits, struck out eight and walked one.

"My slider was working," Kehr said. "It just drops off and I was able to get them to swing through it. I just picked my spots."

Kehr threw first-pitch strikes to 14 of 22 batters and lowered his season earned run average to 1.19.

"I just try to get ahead and work from there," he said.

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