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Clear Spring stays hot, rolls past Williamsport

April 17, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

CLEAR SPRING - Chicks dig the long ball. Clear Spring coach Mark Shives, well, he thinks it's just OK.

"The long ball is nice, but you can't rely on it to win games," Shives said. "I'd much rather get guys on base and bring them around with good hits. It's more reliable."

Nevertheless, the round-trippers were a welcome commodity Wednesday afternoon as No. 7 Clear Spring jacked four over the fence to back yet another solid performance from ace John Kehr, guiding the Blazers to a 9-2 MVAL Antietam victory - their sixth straight win.

"The basic goal is each and every night to get better," Shives said.

Josh Constable reached base and scored after each of his four plate appearances, driving in four runs to lead Clear Spring (8-1, 4-0). The Blazers senior belted a pair of solo home runs - both on the first pitch from Williamsport pitcher Josh Cline - and added an RBI ground-rule double.

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"I noticed (Cline) usually started guys off with a fastball, almost every time," Constable said. "If he wouldn't have thrown the fastball, I probably would have looked foolish."

Constable got a slugger's bounce when the first homer dinged off the top of the left-field fence and bounced over to give Clear Spring a 4-2 lead in the third inning.

There was no doubt about the second shot - the fourth off Cline - which easily cleared the 315-foot fence in left field. It followed a two-run homer by Jordan Thurber to give the Blazers the deciding 9-2 edge. Aaron Mills' solo home run leading off the third inning broke a 2-2 tie.

"(Cline) pitched well when he kept it low," said Williamsport coach Larnie Vickers. "It was when he elevated his pitches that they were hitting it out and to the gaps."

Kehr seemed to gain strength as the game went on. He gave up a pair of runs in the first inning before throwing six scoreless frames, striking out the side in order in the seventh. Kehr scattered six hits, fanned 10 and walked none.

"In the first inning I couldn't locate my slider. I put it out over the plate and they were either driving it or hitting it the other way," said Kehr (4-0). "After that, I think my adrenaline kicked in and I started hitting my spots."

Aaron Hershberger and A.J. Jamison hit back-to-back doubles and Travis Sluger hit an RBI single for Williamsport (2-7, 0-5) in the first inning.

Clear Spring answered in the bottom half on an RBI fielder's choice by Constable and a run-scoring double by Brandon Glazer. The Blazers nursed a 4-2 lead until the fifth when they manufactured a pair of insurance runs - Glazer hit an RBI groundout and Brett Turner added a pinch-hit RBI single to make it 6-2.

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