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Rebels 'get after it' at the plate

April 19, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

CLEAR SPRING -- One day after Boonsboro's baseball team scored 15 runs to hand South Hagerstown its first loss of the year, the No. 3 Rebels bounced back by lighting up No. 6 Clear Spring's scoreboard.

With the Blazers' smorgasbord of pitchers having trouble finding the strike zone Friday, South took full advantage of hitter's count after hitter's count, smashing 16 hits -- including three home runs -- on the way to a 14-8 victory.

"We definitely came to hit the ball," said Rebels center fielder Brandon Knight, who went 3-for-3 and fell a triple short of the cycle.

"I knew it was going to be a slugfest," South coach Ralph Stottlemyer said. "Last night, we left 13 men stranded on base. I told them, 'We can't leave them out there tonight, we have to get after it.'"

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Clear Spring (8-2) took a 3-0 lead in the first inning off South starter Tim Leather. Kyle Crist and Aaron Mills doubled -- Crist's double was aided by a strong wind to dead center field that blew the ball past Knight, and Mills' double scored Knight. Jordan Thurber walked, Josh Constable singled in Mills to make it 2-0, and Thurber later scored on one of South's five errors.

But the Rebels (8-1) didn't need long to take control. Adrian Adams blasted Crist's second pitch of the second inning well past the fence in center for a home run, and two batters later Knight went with Crist's outside offering for a two-run shot to tie the game.

"(Adams' homer) was a big lift," Stottlemyer said. "We were sitting there wondering if this game was going to be like the Boonsboro game, but no. That got everyone back awake."

The homers were the loudest blows, but not the last in the seven-run outburst. Todd Jacobson singled and Steve Grossman doubled to right to chase Crist, who was relieved by Thurber. David Stone singled in Jacobson and Grossman to make it 5-3, Steve Presgraves and Tyler Hamilton each singled to load the bases, and a fielder's choice and a groundout scored two more runs to make it 7-3.

Knight, Jacobson and Stone each doubled in the third inning, and Hamilton added an RBI single as South took a 10-3 lead. Presgraves' solo homer in the fifth made it 11-6, and the Rebels scored three runs in the sixth on two walks, a fielder's choice in which Clear Spring failed to record an out, a balk and two wild pitches to make it 14-6.

"I was disappointed with the way we competed on the mound," Blazers coach Mark Shives said. "We gave up nine hits after falling behind 2-0 in the count. Out of 41 hitters our guys faced, five had first-pitch strikes. To me, that's not competing."

Clear Spring scored three runs in the fourth, combining singles by Brandon Glazer and Josh Green with two Rebels errors. The Blazers added their final two runs in the sixth. Crist and Mills each singled, and both scored on the last South miscue.

Leather went the distance on 131 pitches to earn the win for South. He allowed eight hits and three walks, and struck out 10.

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