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Blazers' McDonough perfect

Cats rally late

May 12, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

CLEAR SPRING - The classic debate about the glass being half-full or half-empty reared its head at Clear Spring in the first round of the Maryland Class 1A West baseball and softball playoffs Friday evening.

Damara McDonough pitched a five-inning perfect game and the Blazers made quick work of rival Hancock 10-0 in softball. But the Blazers baseball team was not so fortunate, as Williamsport scored four runs in the sixth inning and got two stellar defensive plays late to preserve a 6-4 victory.

McDonough struck out eight to help give Clear Spring (7-12) its second straight no-hitter over Hancock (6-12).

"(Coach Ron Baker) told me to go get a no-hitter, so that was what I was aiming for," McDonough said. "You want to win against your rival, and when you really want something, it makes you work harder."

The Panthers committed three errors in the first inning, allowing Clear Spring to take a quick 4-0 lead. Another error led to another run in the second.

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"That's been our downfall all year," Hancock coach Rocky Wills said of the mistakes. "The kids know what to do, it's just getting them to do it."

Two-run singles by Courtney Smith and Maggie Wolford made it 9-0 in the third. Amanda Yost's RBI single ended the game in the fifth.

Christina Mehaffie no-hit Hancock 10-0 on April 24.

"Both our pitchers have been working hard," Baker said. "They don't make many mistakes. They've kept us in games all year."

The Blazers will travel to Thurmont, Md., to play top-seed Catoctin on Monday.

Singles by Aaron Hershberger, Tim McCartney and Nick Bodnar and a double by Chad Bikle helped Williamsport (11-8) take a 6-3 lead over Clear Spring (9-8) in the sixth. The Wildcats were aided by a hit batter and an outfield error.

"We just got some key hits and some key bounces in that inning to get in the runs," Wildcats coach Larnie Vickers said.

The Blazers got a run back in the bottom half when John Kehr singled, went to second on an outfield error, took third on a balk and scored on Chipper Mellott's groundout. Clear Spring had runners on first and third with two outs, but Corey Morgan's sinking liner to right was snared by the diving Andrew Duff to end the inning.

"That saved us," Vickers said. "We're still playing if he doesn't make that catch."

Nick Bodnar's diving stop and toss to Bikle for a forceout at second base for the first out in the seventh proved to be another big play. With two outs and two on, Andrew Dagenhart finished off his complete-game victory with a strikeout of Danny Reed.

"Defensively, they played unbelievable," Clear Spring coach Mark Shives said. "They made two or three plays I haven't seen made in four years coaching in high school."

A.J. Jamison hit a two-run homer in the first to give Williamsport the early lead. Morgan's three-run double in the fourth gave the Blazers a 3-2 advantage.

The Wildcats will travel to second-seed Southern Garrett on Monday.

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