Clear Spring captures piece of MVAL Antietam title

May 07, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

CLEAR SPRING -- As a four-year member of the Clear Spring baseball team, Aaron Mills has seen the good, the bad and the ugly.

On Tuesday afternoon, things were good -- real good.

The senior pitched a five-hitter and his teammates pounded out 15 hits as Clear Spring (15-3, 9-1) captured a convincing 12-2 MVAL Antietam win and gained a share of the conference title with the Cougars (13-7, 9-1).

The contest was called after six innings because of the 10-run rule.

"The (baseball) program has come a long way," Mills said. "I can remember when I was a freshman, we got pounded pretty good in some games. This year, we are solid. We hit the ball well and our pitching, for the most part, has been sound. I'm looking forward to the playoffs."

Mills increased his pitching record to 2-0 in the regular-season finale for Clear Spring, keeping Catoctin off balance with an assortment of pitches.


"I used the curveball and off-speed pitches a good bit," Mills said. "They beat us the first time (5-3) and we wanted this one. I was able to work six innings and that will give the rest of the pitching staff some rest. We should be ready for the playoffs."

He added, "It means a lot to tie for the MVAL title. I think we've improved every year since I've been here. It's taken a lot of hard work. We play a tough schedule and that should help us in the playoffs."

Mills' only mistakes Tuesday were two home run balls off the bat of Catoctin slugger Mitch Althoff.

"He hit them both a long way," Mills said. "There was no doubt."

Clear Spring gave Mills all the runs he would need with a three-run uprising in the first inning and then ended matters with a four-run spurt in the sixth.

Josh Constable and seldom-used Joel Rowe hit home runs in the decisive sixth frame off Catoctin relief pitcher Taylor Tomasini. Another Blazers reserve -- Keith Gilchrist -- finished things off with a two-run double on the first pitch delivered to him.

"It was great to see the two seniors (Constable and Gilchrist) come through in the sixth," Clear Spring manager Mark Shives said. "This was what you would call a total team effort. I think everyone on the ball club had a hand in a very big win."

Shives was not totally surprised by the outcome.

"We gave one away the first time we met," Shives said. "They're a good ball club but we had the lead and they came back. We were looking forward to the rematch."

The coach was pleased to see the regular season end on the winning note.

"We're having a great year," Shives said. "A 15-3 record against a mostly MVAL schedule is a great tribute to this team. We get a bye now in the first round of the playoffs and that will help our pitching staff."

After Mills blanked Catoctin in the opening frame, Clear Spring went to work against Catoctin starting pitcher Justin Albright. The key hits were Jordan Thurber's two-run homer and Corey Morgan's run-producing double.

Josh Constable, Brandon Glazer, John Kehr and Josh Green each had two hits for Clear Spring.

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