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Blazers roll early, then hang on

April 24, 2008|By Chris Carter

The Clear Spring baseball team had little time to forget a 14-8 loss to South Hagerstown last Friday.

Instead, the No. 6 Blazers made good on the chance to reciprocate Wednesday.

Clear Spring unloaded early and often to build leads of 12-0 and 16-3 before withstanding a late rally to hold off the No. 3 Rebels 16-12, avenging a defeat from five days earlier.

"South has a good team, we knew that from last week," said Blazers coach Mark Shives. "These guys came out fired up and really swung the bats well to start."

Clear Spring ace John Kehr didn't take the mound Wednesday, but made his presence known right away by lifting a grand slam over the left-field fence to cap a six-run first inning.

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Brett Turner and Corey Morgan added run-scoring singles in the second inning, chasing Rebels starter Tim Hamilton from the game.

The Blazers singled five times and batted around in the third inning to plate four runs and push the lead to 12-0.

"They got to (Hamilton) pretty good and we couldn't find anyone to settle down," said South coach Ralph Stottlemyer. "They can hit the ball, I'll tell you that."

The Rebels got three runs back on an RBI single by Tim Jacobson and a two-run double by Brandon Knight to bring the deficit to 12-3, but even that couldn't faze the Clear Spring attack.

The Blazers (10-2) tacked on four more runs in the fourth - Turner capped it with a two-run single - and knocked two more South pitchers out of the game before Cory Shank entered and induced the inning-ending double play.

"I think (Clear Spring) came in very relaxed in this one because they have to think about an (MVAL Antietam) game (today)," said South coach Ralph Stottlemyer. "They need that game (today) just like we need one on Friday."

With a 16-3 lead after 3 1/2 innings, it may have been safe for the Blazers to look ahead to today's game against Catoctin. But South managed to hold on to Clear Spring's attention for a bit longer.

The Rebels (9-2) scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth, and a two-run double by No. 9 hitter David Stone in the fifth cut the score to 16-7 as South avoided the 10-run mercy rule. South picked up two more runs in the frame to close the gap to 16-9.

"We just kind of took a breath," Shives said. "We had a few big innings, we just had to keep going forward and we didn't."

Shank held the Blazers scoreless over the last 3 2/3 innings and retired the last seven batters he faced.

South made a last-ditch effort at a comeback after sophomore Tyler Presgraves slugged a two-run home run - his fourth straight game with a homer - to make it 16-11 with no outs in the seventh. But the Rebels got only a Jacobson RBI single before Knight popped out to left field to end the game.

"It was a wild night with two pretty good offensive teams," Stottlemyer said. "When the smoke cleared, they got the best of us."

Presgraves had two hits, reached base in each of his five plate appearances and scored four runs for the Rebels, who host Frederick on Friday. Stone and Jacobson also finished with two hits each.

Aaron Mills, who got a no decision in his first start of the season, joined Turner and Green with three hits apiece for Clear Spring. Morgan and Jordan Thurber each added two hits.

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