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Clear Spring capitalizes on American's miscues

June 27, 2007|By CONNER GILBERT / Staff Correspondent

CLEAR SPRING - It was a tale of two teams going in different directions on Tuesday, as Clear Spring defeated American 13-3 in the first round of the Maryland District 1 9-10 All-Star Tournament.

Clear Spring thrived behind its pitching and defense, whereas those phases of the game proved to be American's downfall.

Clear Spring starter Nick Lewis allowed only one hit through 3 1/3 innings, striking out eight.

"He did a great job," Clear Spring manager Todd Brant said. "He really hung in there."

Lewis got off to a shaky start in the first inning, giving up a one-out walk to Arron Lighter, who scored on Elijah Stubbs' triple. Jacob Wise followed with an RBI groundout, giving American a 2-0 lead.

But Lewis settled down, striking out the side in the second, two more in the third and one in the fourth while allowing just one more run.

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Meanwhile, American squandered its early lead by committing eight errors over the final three innings.

"It was very uncharacteristic of this team," American manager Richie Fraley said. "There was a lack of focus."

American's first round of costly errors occurred in the second. Lewis reached second on an infield error. Bradley Colliflower drove Lewis in with a single to center, then advanced to second on an outfield error. Colliflower scored on a throwing error, tying the game at 2.

In the third, Jacob Brant led off with a walk and scored on Riley Lazich's triple to deep left field. Jacob Lee followed with an RBI infield single, giving Clear Spring a 4-2 lead.

Then came more errors for American. Elijah Stubbs issued back-to-back walks to Colliflower and Ryan Yetter. Wilkins entered to pitch to Eric Yetter, but a fielding error allowed two runs to score as Yetter reached second. After Wilkins walked J.T. Altman, another error allowed Altman to score as Spencer Schultz raced all the way to third. Schultz scored on a throwing error by to give Clear Spring a 10-2 lead.

After American scored a run in the third, Clear Spring answered back with three more runs on two errors and an RBI single by Schultz, making the score 13-3 and putting the mercy rule into effect.

While American's errors helped Clear Spring's offense, Brant was still impressed by his team's approach and execution.

"I was proud of our base-running and the way everyone swung the bats," Brant said.

Clear Spring hosts Halfway today at 6 p.m. in the second round of the winners' bracket. American will host the Valley-National loser on Thursday in the losers' bracket.

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