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Smithsburg's hopes crash in Accident

May 20, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

ACCIDENT, Md. - It was no accident that Smithsburg's baseball team traveled to Accident to play Northern Garrett for the Maryland Class 1A West title Saturday afternoon.

Despite a sub-.500 overall record, the Leopards played solid baseball over the last month - winning nine of 13 games - to put themselves in position for their first regional title in 17 years.

Unfortunately for Smithsburg, it's also no accident that the top-seeded Huskies have lost just once all season - and they weren't about to let the upstart Leopards march onto their home field and ruin their state title dreams.

Northern pitchers Matt Sisler and Corey Carr combined for a two-hitter with 13 strikeouts and the Huskies scored three runs in each of the first two innings to end Smithsburg's season, 9-1.

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"This team's come a long way since the beginning of the season," Fowkes said of the Leopards (11-13), who started 2-8. "It's not the ending we hoped for, but I'm proud of their accomplishments."

Bobby Smith's single leading off the fifth broke up the no-hitter, and his double following Travis Hays' walk in the seventh led to Smithsburg's only run, driven in by Steve Hines' groundout.

That was about it for Leopards highlights, as Northern (21-1) took control early.

Smithsburg starter Kevin Kocsis gave up leadoff walks in each of the first two innings, and they proved costly. Dom DiRenzo's two-run homer to left was the big blow in the Huskies' three-run first inning, and three Leopards errors contributed to three more Northern runs in the second.

"It was just exactly what we did to Southern (Garrett), they did to us," Fowkes said.

In Thursday's semifinals, the Leopards took a 3-0 lead against Southern in the first inning and went on to an 11-1 victory behind Kevin Tyler's five-hitter.

On Saturday, Sisler and Carr locked up Smithsburg. Sisler went five innings and allowed Smith's single and a walk and also hit two batters. The left-hander mixed his fastball and curve well and struck out nine.

"Their pitcher did to us what Kevin did to Southern," Fowkes said. "I was worried about that. He had us off-balance with his curveball all day today."

Carr, a hard-throwing righty, took over the pitching duties in the sixth and struck out four in his two innings to wrap it up.

The Huskies scored two in the fourth on Sisler's RBI double and DiRenzo's RBI bloop single, and added one more in the sixth when Sisler doubled again to cap a 4-for-4 day at the plate, and scored on Brock Gladfelty's single.

"They got pitching, hitting and defense today," Fowkes said. "Just like we weren't satisfied with just three runs Thursday, they weren't content with a 3-0 lead.

"They're a senior-oriented team, their pitcher pitched like a senior today, and I tip my cap to him. They got us on our heels today and we couldn't recover."

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