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Lyons leads Jefferson past Mercersburg

May 01, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Baseball teams often use the intentional walk to avoid potential danger.

The No. 1 Jefferson Cougars used it as a motivator.

Colin Lyons' free pass to Mercersburg Academy cleanup hitter Chris Sintetos loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first inning. The Cougars junior approached it as just another challenge.

Lyons fanned the next two batters and kept the momentum rolling in a dazzling two-hit performance to outduel Blue Storm pitcher Tom Timoney in a 1-0 win at Sager Field.

"I think it showed confidence in (Lyons) with the intentional walk to load the bases," said Cougars coach John Lowery. "When we walked (Sintetos) to get to the No. 5 hitter, it told (Lyons) that we were behind him."

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"I feel like I pitch better out of the stretch. I was glad my team trusted in me," said Lyons (5-1). "I just bared down and focused on hitting my spots. I kept the ball low and made sure my curveball snapped."

Lyons worked around five walks and two hit batsmen and finished with a season-high 14 strikeouts. No. 2 Mercersburg (11-5) had at least one baserunner in all but one inning and left a runner in scoring position in four innings, including when it left the bases full in the first.

"That's the ballgame. We had to score in that inning," said Mercersburg coach Karl Reisner. "We didn't hit. Ridiculous."

The lack of offense spoiled a strong outing from Timoney, who allowed only three hits, struck out 10 and walked one.

He gave up the only run of the game after hitting Andrew Rotruck to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Courtesy runner Holden Carroll moved to second on an errant pickoff throw and scored on a single by Kyle Walker.

Walker fell behind 0-2 and survived a 10-pitch at-bat before sending a liner to center field to give the Cougars (27-2) the only run they needed.

"I was trying to look for a pitch to hit," said Walker. "I thought the game had a good chance of getting finished after that. (Lyons) has done a good job for us all year."

Lyons lived on the edge at times, which led to three mound visits from Jefferson coaches throughout the game.

There was action in the Cougars bullpen before the seventh inning, but Lyons still came out for the complete game.

"His velocity was good and he had good command of his breaking ball," Lowery said. "We just tried to get him to calm down at times."

Lyons struck out the first two batters in the seventh before giving up a single to Trevor Smith.

After a walk to Collin Stevens, Lyons fanned Sintetos to end the game.

Lyons gave up a double to Timoney to lead off the game, then faced 26 batters before giving up another hit.

"They had a lot of lefties and I felt like I had the advantage" Lyons said. "(Timoney) was a great hitter and he made some good contact all night.

"This game was really fun. I'm glad I had the chance to be a part of it."

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