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Teams heating up along with weather

April 27, 2007|by DAN KAUFFMAN

In honor of Mother Nature finally realizing it's spring and giving the Tri-State area some warmer weather this week, here's a look at a few area teams that are heating the diamond up:

Baseball

· No. 1 Jefferson (19-2) - The Cougars had a nine-game streak snapped by Canfield, Ohio, in the Hawaiian Tropic final two weeks ago. No problem, they've rolled to seven straight wins since.

Jefferson is getting production from everyone, but the two stars are Matt Tiano (.550) and Jonathan Hash (.411 in the batter's box, 3-1 with a 1.40 ERA on the mound).

· No. 2 South Hagerstown (11-1, 9-0 MVAL Antietam) - The Rebels are rolling, winners of seven straight and maintaining their perfect league record. With the rest of the league beating itself up, South is in position to clinch at least a share of the title with one more victory.

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Tim Leather (.483) and Zeke Ricketts (.429) are feasting on area pitching, and closer Spencer Cromer (1.24 ERA, 30 strikeouts in 17 innings) already has set the school record for saves in a season with six.

· No. 3 Waynesboro (10-2) - Remember when the Indians were 1-2? Neither does anyone else. They've rolled off nine straight wins since, and the offense - led by slugger Nathan Minnich and his eight home runs and .667 average - looks unstoppable. Waynesboro has scored 107 runs in the nine victories, 11.9 per game.

Speaking of Minnich, for the second straight week he earns the ridiculous stat of the week award - his slugging percentage is 1.515.

· No. 7 Mercersburg Academy (10-5) - After an 0-3 start, the Blue Storm have won 10 of 12 games, including a 4-2 win over No. 5 Martinsburg on April 18. Cord Heine (.526) has seven home runs this season, second to Minnich.

Softball

· No. 3 Chambersburg (7-3) - After a sluggish start, the Trojans are back to their usual form with five straight victories, and the latest one - an 8-0 thumping of a Shippensburg squad that has wins over No. 2 Greencastle and No. 5 Waynesboro this season and entered the game 9-2 - was the most impressive.

Everyone knows how good University of Virginia recruit Allee Rife is in the circle. What they may not know is how tough Chambersburg's lineup is - five different players have had three or more hits in a game during the winning streak (Jessica Miller, Kayla Priesler, Katie Culbertson, Jordan Sanders and Tara Cole).

· Musselman (11-7) - If the Applemen keep playing the way they have been, they'll crack the Super 7 before too long. Once 3-5, they've won eight of their last 10 games, including six of their last seven, and gave No. 1 Hedgesville all the Eagles could handle in a 3-2 loss.

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