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Baseball/Softball: Blue Storm's youngsters stepping up

April 11, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

Mercersburg Academy baseball coach Karl Reisner didn't think the No. 4 Blue Storm (4-1) would be this good, this fast.

"We're a very young team," Reisner said. "Of 18 kids on the squad, only four are seniors. Three are freshmen. I thought we would be a team that may be playing like this in May. I'm surprised we've been this successful this early in the year."

Mercersburg's pitching, in particular, has been magnificent. Junior Tom Timoney has allowed three hits and one walk while striking out 15 in 11 innings, and freshman Christian Binford has allowed just one hit in 12 innings, walking eight and striking out 16. Binford no-hit Martinsburg 3-0 on Wednesday.

"Both of them have great command out there," Reisner said. "Tommy has gotten much stronger than last year. He's throwing consistently in the mid-to-high 80s, has a good curveball and great composure. He's basically been unhittable the last two times out there.

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"Binford's got great composure for a freshman. He's so young, he doesn't know enough to be bothered by things out there. He went out there in the seventh inning and Martinsburg was chanting, 'No-hitter! No-hitter!' and he smiled and struck the next kid out. It's no big deal to him, he doesn't let the pressure get to him."

Tom Timoney and his brother, freshman Matt Timoney, lead the Blue Storm in hitting - Tom is batting .625, Matt .467 - while senior Chris Sintetos, who will play at Holy Cross next year, is batting .438 with three home runs. Senior Collin Stevens is batting .428 and senior catcher Chris Freeland is batting .385 while doing a great job behind the plate.

"Chris has to be one of the best defensive catchers in the area," Reisner said. "There's another reason for the pitchers' success, we have a kid behind the plate who everyone has confidence in."

Twigg snaps off hitters

Berkeley Springs junior Michael Twigg is quickly building a reputation as one of the area's best pitchers.

Twigg has been brilliant in his last two games for the No. 6 Indians. On March 31, he struck out 15 for a 6-2 victory over No. 7 Clear Spring. Then on Tuesday, he struck out 15 more and - in an unusual twist - earned the win and the save in a 12-9 triumph over Martinsburg.

Twigg started the game and struck out 13 Bulldogs before being pulled after five innings and 130 pitches as Berkeley Springs built a 12-2 lead. But Martinsburg mounted a comeback against the Indians' relievers, and Twigg was called on to hold off the Bulldogs late, striking out two more.

Eagles rolling along

Hedgesville's softball team has staked its claim as the top squad in the Eastern Panhandle so far this season. The No. 2 Eagles are 14-2, and they've gotten solid pitching and steady offense.

Juniors Jessica Shirley and Abigail Elliott have taken care of business in the circle. Shirley is 7-2 with a 0.73 ERA, allowing 34 hits and 11 walks while striking out 71 in 57 1/3 innings. Elliott hasn't been as dominating but has gotten the job done, going 7-0 with a 1.14 ERA. She has allowed 40 hits in 37 innings, striking out 19.

Shirley has been equally impressive at the plate, hitting .409 with six doubles and two homers. Senior Brittany Kolb's .478 average leads the Eagles, while junior Samantha Nazelrod (.465, six doubles, two homers) and freshman Paige Reed (.419) add punch. Kolb also has stolen nine bases.

Odds and ends

· Here's news that should surprise no one: The No. 5 Waynesboro baseball team is hitting the cover off the ball again, led by Jamison Walck (.786), Brenton Kopecek (.600), Ian Ramsey (.533), Nathan Minnich (.462) and John Brunner (.438).

· The 2007 Washington County Softball Player of the Year, Brittany Hyatt, has started 2008 on an absolute tear. She's hitting .714 (15-for-21) with five doubles, two homers and nine RBIs.

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