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Breaks leave Trojans broke

May 19, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - Chambersburg baseball coach Bob Thomas was left playing the "What if?" game Friday night.

What if Dallastown reliever Craig Ricks' curveball in the dirt had gone to the backstop with the Trojans' winning run on third in the seventh inning, instead of bouncing up and hitting catcher Adam Hinkle square in the mask?

What if Trojans pitcher Calvin Mentzer had gotten one more strike in the third inning, instead of allowing one of three walks that led to a run?

"We haven't gotten any breaks this year," Thomas said after Dallastown ended Chambersburg's season with an 8-5 victory in nine innings in a PIAA District 3-AAAA play-in game.

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A soaring pitch count finally took its toll on Mentzer and the Trojans (13-8) in the ninth. Rick's leadoff double and bunt singles by Craig Martin and Trevor Neff loaded the bases. Jordan Reichard's sacrifice fly gave Dallastown a 5-4 lead, Dan Volk's triple to the gap in left-center field made it 7-4, and Hinkle's single to left made it 8-4 and ended Mentzer's outing after 154 pitches.

Mentzer singled and scored on Brian Massimilla's single in the bottom half, but it was too little, too late.

Chambersburg nearly won the game in the seventh. With two outs, Zach Frelin walked and moved to third ahead of a late throw off Massimilla's single to center. Massimilla took second behind the play.

Dallastown turned to Ricks to get out of the jam. His second pitch to Marshall Gilbert was a 58-foot curve that bounced high into Hinkle's mask and dropped straight down in front of him.

"That pitch bounces up and hits his mask, and if it doesn't, we win the game," Thomas said.

Ricks battled back to strike out Gilbert in seven pitches and send the game into extra innings.

Dallastown tied the game at 4 in the sixth. Hinkle led off with a walk, stole second when a pickoff attempt was thwarted by a mental error at first, then scored on Jared Pitzer's single to tie the game.

Each team scored twice in the first inning. Volk's RBI triple and Hinkle's RBI single got Dallastown on the board.

Chambersburg answered on Gilbert's two-run homer that cleared the bleachers beyond the fence in right.

The Trojans made it 3-2 in the second on Brandon Caldwell's home run near the pool beyond the fence in left.

Dallastown tied it in the third on three walks and a hit batter, all but one walk coming with two outs. Hinkle walked to load the bases - Mentzer thought he struck him out on a 2-2 pitch that would have ended the inning - and Mentzer hit Pitzer with a pitch to bring in the run.

"That one inning, he walked the guy when he had him struck out to load the bases," Thomas said. "If that doesn't happen, we win in seven (innings)."

Chambersburg took its final lead at 4-3 in the fourth on singles by Caldwell, Cody Reed and Jimmy Byers.

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