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North vs. Smithsburg - Slipping, sliding, tying

April 01, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

An express trip around the bases on one unconventional play was enough for North Hagerstown to rally for a 7-7 tie with Smithsburg on Monday in a game that was halted by darkness.

After Smithsburg pushed across two runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 7-6 lead, North faced defeat with two out and the bases empty when Steve Younker stepped to the plate.

Younker rattled a line drive to the right of diving Smithsburg center fielder Kyle Orndorff off a 2-2 pitch from relief pitcher Kevin Kocsis. It fell safely, rolling past Orndorff to the fence. Younker had rounded second as the throw reached relay man, shortstop Josh Conway.

Conway airmailed his throw high over third and the North dugout from short left center, allowing Younker to score the tying run.

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"It was a crazy game after the fourth inning," Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes said. "I think each team took advantage of the conditions with the wet baseballs. Under normal conditions, I think you see (Conway) throw that runner out at third."

The run forced the game to be suspended in a deadlock. The final decision won't be rendered until the teams meet again at Smithsburg on April 23, beginning with the eighth inning.

Smithsburg took the lead in the seventh when Bobby Smith bounced a two-hopper to a hard-charging North shortstop Cody Nelling, who made a fine pickup but threw wide to first allowing two runs to score.

North, which trailed to the Leopards 5-1, knotted the score in the fifth with two hits and two key Smithsburg errors, one on the back end of a potential double play that allowed two runs.

"Both teams gave one another extra outs and each team took advantage," said North coach Shawn Reynolds. "I was happy how we came back down 5-1."

Three textbook innings opened the game as North led 1-0 with a first-inning run off Conway. The Leopards got to Hubs starter Greg Lynn for four runs in the fourth with no out, a rally fueled by two walks to start the inning.

"(Lynn) cruised along but the walks hurt and he got a little rattled," Reynolds said of his sophomore hurler who was making his first varsity start.

Conway went the first 4 1/3 innings for Smithsburg with eight strikeout before leaving in the fifth inning in favor of Kocsis.

Younker had three of North's eight hits and Conway reached base four times with a single and three walks.

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