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Leopards' bats pack more bang than Cats

April 15, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

WILLIAMSPORT - Hitting and scoring have been hard to come by for the Smithsburg and Williamsport baseball teams this season.

So when the two teams met on Monday and a slugfest broke out, it was reason to celebrate. Unfortately for the Wildcats, they celebrated too much.

So much so, Williamsport decided to share its good fortune ... it gave runs away.

The Wildcats and Leopards locked in a hitapolooza with a combined 35 hits over eight innings. When the dust settled, it ended up being the runs Williamsport ran itself out of that were the difference in a 14-12 extra-inning loss to Smithsburg.

"I think we put all our hits in one bag finally," Williamsport coach Larnie Vickers said. "It was what we were waiting for. But, we told the boys that we gave (Smithsburg) five outs. We ran ourselves out of innings."

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It was a game when pitchers were an endangered species and earned run averages grew to match the national debt. Runs were scored in 11 of the 16 half-innings - including seven of eight by Smithsburg.

But Williamsport ran the bases like a calf in a roping contest. There were five occasions when base-running decisions left the Wildcats tied up and laying in the dirt.

Running mistakes cost Williamsport in the first, sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

Still, the Wildcats pushed Smithsburg to the limit.

"You think if you score two touchdowns and two extra points, you should feel pretty confident," said Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes. "Both teams came out and hit the ball. No lead was safe. You had to get as many runs as you can."

The Leopards seemed to hit anything and everything four Williamsport pitchers threw at them, as proven by the 18-hit attack.

Smithsburg took a 2-0 lead in the first but was down 3-2 by the end of the inning. The Leopards tied the game at 3 in the second and took an 8-3 advantage in the third by sending 10 hitters to the plate. Then it was 8-6 after four before Smithsburg scored a run in the fifth and another in the sixth to take an 11-6 lead.

Smithsburg's lead didn't last for long. Williamsport tied it at 11 with a five-run sixth but blew a chance to win it. Designated hitter Michael Warrenfeltz hit a two-run, bases-loaded single to right to move the Wilcats within 11-9 but was thrown out trying to take second. Drew Williams followed with a two-run home run - which could have been a three-run shot - to tie the game.

The teams traded runs in the seventh to make it 12-12, with Williamsport's A.J. Jamison getting thrown out at second trying to stretch a hit.

Smithsburg got to Travis Sluger - Williamsport's fourth pitcher - in the eighth for the two decisive runs. Kyle Orndorff's fielder's choice and Kevn Kocsis' RBI triple gave the Leopards the lead to defend.

Smithsburg gave the ball to Jay Shafer, who got the save with the help of Williamsport running into a game-ending double play on a flyout.

"Our boys were a little more patient tonight," Vickers said. "They hit the ball in the zone and swung the bats well. But we made two outs at third and three outs at second. Running killed us."

Williamsport used four pitchers, starting with Brian Braswell, who left after 1 2/3 innings with an injured elbow. Jamison, Williams and Aaron Hershberger had three hits each in Williamsport's 17-hit attack. Williams drove in three runs and Jamison knocked in two.

Kocsis got the win in relief of Josh Conway. Brandon Knight led Smithsburg by going 4-for-4 with five RBIs, including a home run and a sacrifice fly.

"We got a little momentum," Fowkes said. "We were down 9-1 to Catoctin and came back to tie it at 9-9. Brandon got the big hit at Catoctin. We just got to keep it going."

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