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Tempers rise, benches clear, umps leave, game stays tied

June 17, 2007|by CONNER GILBERT/Staff Correspondent

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - For everyone who thought there was no such thing as Murphy's Law in baseball, think again.

Funkstown Post 211 and Berkeley Post 14 proved Saturday afternoon that anything that could have gone wrong did for both teams in what ended as a wild, six-inning 11-11 draw at P.O. Faulkner Park.

What started as a scheduled doubleheader was halted in the sixth inning of the first game when the umpires left the field. The remainder of the opener and the nightcap were cancelled, all after tempers rose after the ejection of Funkstown coach Brian Smith.

It all started with an errant throw that went the wrong way and ended in a disputed call.

The play in question started when Berkeley center fielder Jesse Simmons misplayed Cody Poffenberger's single. Simmons retrieved the ball and fired to third in an effort to erase Poffenberger, but the ball sailed and struck a chair near the Berkeley dugout.

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Poffenberger remained on third, representing the winning run with two outs. After Jason Sutherland flew out to end the inning, Smith questioned whether Poffenberger should have been awarded home plate on Simmons' throw.

The meeting escalated into an argument and Smith was tossed from the game. Smith returned to the dugout and began throwing chairs onto the field, prompting both benches to clear. Players and coaches began exchanging words and fans began protesting from the stands.

Within seconds, the game was called and the umpires exited the field, resulting in the tie.

The turbulent finish was the culmination of an entire afternoon's worth of frustration, as the teams combined to allow 22 runs and committed nine critical errors.

It started when Berkeley starter Paul Chenoweth issued a leadoff walk to Matt Byers to begin the game, who proceeded to steal second base. After Fred Kreifen walked, a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. Jere Mills reached on a one-out throwing error by catcher Kevin Griffin, allowing Byers to score. Zeke Ricketts' RBI single to right scored Kreifen.

Berkeley answered immediately in the bottom of the first. After back-to-back walks to Logan Clark and Griffin, Justin Everhart hit an RBI double to left, followed by Brandon King's two-run single to give Berkeley a 3-2 lead.

Berkeley added to the lead in the second on a two-run double by Clark to go up 5-2.

Funkstown used Berkeley's mistake-prone third to take back the lead.

Two Funkstown runners reached when Berkeley's defense failed to properly cover bases for outs. King added two throwing errors to help Post 211 to four runs and a 6-5 lead.

"We had people in different positions that they had not played during high school," Berkeley coach Steve Everhart said. "They were pressing to make plays, but it's still early in the season."

Funkstown committed two errors in the bottom of the third to help Berkeley retake the lead at 9-6.

Funkstown bounced back with five runs in the fourth, starting with back-to-back walks by Chenoweth and a fielding error by Coates.

But with one out and the bases loaded, Chenoweth left the game with an arm injury after collapsing on the mound.

"I think he was pressing and overthrowing," Everhart said. "He has swelling in his elbow, and if it was a muscle tear, he's done for the year."

Berkeley knotted the game when Jason Everhart was hit by a pitch and scored on King's two-run home run to center field for the 11-11 tie.

"I saw the ball well, and it was a pitch I could handle," King said.

Kreifen finished with two hits and scored three runs, and Ricketts added a pair of RBI singles for Funkstown.

King had three hits and four RBI for Berkeley.

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