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Geffert pitches Martinsburg by Hedgesville in W.Va. sectional opener

May 06, 2008|By JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Not that he needed any more to worry about, but Martinsburg's Brandon King has a tough act to follow tonight.

That's because teammate Spike Geffert pitched a four-hitter Monday night against Hedgesville, and the Bulldogs took advantage of three Eagles errors while claiming a 5-1 win in the first game of the three-team, double-elimination Class AAA Region II Section 2 tournament.

The win likely sets up another matchup between the Eastern Panhandle's two best pitchers. Jefferson's Brandon Campbell will probably take the mound tonight against King, the 6-foot-4 junior whose fastball has been clocked above 90 mph.

"He did a heck of a job," King said of Geffert, who walked only one and struck out nine. "That's the best I've seen him pitch. He was moving the ball in and out, changing speeds as well as you can. He did a phenomenal job."

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If King is the Bulldogs' overpowering ace, then Geffert (3-1) has provided him with a crafty complement. He's walked only four batters all season, and his lone loss came against Urbana in a 2-1 pitchers' duel.

"He's had some good starts," Martinsburg coach John Lowery Jr. said. "He's looked pretty comfortable all year. He's definitely a good No. 2."

Seventy of his 105 pitches went for strikes, as he and Hedgesville's Andrew Snyder (4-3) both battered the strike zone. Snyder gave up the five runs, but only two were earned.

The game was over in 90 minutes.

"Those three errors all showed up on the scoreboard against us," Hedgesville coach Ben Merica said. "You can put our team batting average and ERA up against anyone. There's a reason we're No. 3 in the section, and it's our defense."

The first miscue came in the second inning, when shortstop Andrew Snyder's two-out overthrow allowed Jordan Mason to reach and Zach Stolipher to score from third.

The sun played havoc on Eagles first baseman Jake Riner in the third. First, he could not see the ball coming from across the diamond and missed a throw, letting Ryan Bennett reach base. Then he had trouble with Snyder's pickoff attempt and Bennett went to third.

King doubled to right field to score Bennett and came home on freshman Zach Woolcock's single to center. Woolcock scored on Noon Jordan's two-out single, accounting for another unearned run to make it 4-0.

Hedgesville (15-16) scored in the fourth when Riner followed a Mo Adams single with a double to center field. Andrew Shaffer's line-out to right stranded Riner on third.

Martinsburg (20-11) added its final run in the fifth. King walked, moved to third on Woolcock's double, then scored on T.J. Wiesenberg's sacrifice fly.

Snyder pitched six innings, allowing six hits and one walk. He struck out four, and 55 of his 86 pitches were strikes.

"Errors, walks, all that stuff leads to big innings," King said.

Campbell (9-0) joined King on the all-state second team last year. The two have locked up twice already this year, with top-ranked and defending state champ Jefferson (29-2) claiming both wins.

"That's the way it should be," Lowery Jr. said, "our best guy against their best guy."

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