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Clear Spring Blazers set out on trail with state title in mind

April 10, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

CLEAR SPRING - Here's the scary thing about Clear Spring's baseball team: The Blazers' No. 3 pitcher threw a one-hit shutout Wednesday, and even though their No. 3 and No. 4 hitters went 0-for-4 with two walks, the rest of the lineup went 13-for-25 in a five-inning, 15-0 thumping of Hancock.

Clear Spring improved to 5-1, and coach Mark Shives said the Blazers have set big goals.

"They've been saying 'State title or bust,' and you can't ask for much more when your kids have that confidence," Shives said. "What else should you play for than a state title? If you're not playing for that, you shouldn't be coaching."

Josh Kehr - making his first start of the season for the Blazers - allowed the only Hancock hit, Ben Hoopengardner's infield single to the hole at short, in the fourth inning. He walked five and struck out nine, including the final two to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth.

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"That's his first start. We had to get him work," Shives said. "We have (Josh) Constable and John (Kerr) as our No. 1 and No. 2 guys, and we have five other juniors we could throw out there. It's tough to spread innings out."

Josh Kehr also hit the first home run of his high school career, a three-run shot that capped an 11-run second inning. Constable started the inning with a solo homer and later added an RBI single, while Josh Green hit an RBI double and John Kehr and Corey Morgan each added RBI singles.

"A couple guys squared it up pretty good today, and that's the nice thing about this year, we don't have to rely on one hitter," Shives said. "There's a comfort zone in the batter's box we haven't had in years past."

Kyle Crist singled and scored in the first inning, and John Kehr hit an RBI double and Morgan and Brett Turner added RBI singles in the four-run fourth inning.

"When you can't throw it, you can't catch it and you can't hit it, you're not going to win many games," said Hancock coach Brian Kerns, whose Panthers fell to 3-5. "I wasn't happy at all with our effort. We didn't go to the plate with any attitude to hit the ball, we watch it go by."

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