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Thurber unleashes thunder - Two-run HR lifts Clear Spring over Boonsboro

May 16, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

CLEAR SPRING - Jordan Thurber got the one pitch he needed to make a difference in Thursday's Maryland 1A West region semifinal battle.

It was the only mistake Boonsboro pitcher John Shobe made, as Thurber sent a hanging curveball for a two-run ride in the bottom of the third inning to propel Clear Spring over the Warriors 2-0 and gain a berth in today's final against Mountain Ridge, with a state semifinal appearance at stake.

Josh Constable made the runs stand up with a 10-strikeout effort, allowing four hits - all in the last three innings - and avoiding potential disaster in the fifth and seventh innings as the Blazers won for the 17th time in 20 outings.

Shobe, who did not pitch against the Blazers in 8-1 and 11-1 regular-season losses, got through the first two innings with three strikeouts.

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He allowed a leadoff single in the third to Brandon Glazer, who was sacrificed to second by Aaron Mills. Suddenly, the lefty-hitting Thurber pounced on the first pitch from Shobe and sent a towering drive over the fence in right center for the 2-0 lead.

"(Thurber) struggled early in the year, has walked a lot and doesn't really see good pitches to hit," said Clear Spring coach Mark Shives. "But he got the big hit today."

In five innings before leaving, Shobe had six strikeouts, allowed six hits and walked four. It wasn't enough to match Constable, who won his sixth game without a loss.

"Today was the first time I had seen Shobe pitch," said Shives. "He threw a great game. He got us chasing some high pitches."

Half of Constable's strikeouts were called, and Boonsboro coach Ben Leonard was clearly dismayed by the umpiring.

"We played well, but you hate to see a game that is affected by the two folks on the field that have no business doing a regional game," said Leonard, upset over what he thought were two different strike zones. "Shobe pitched great. Just one hanging curve."

Constable held the Warriors (11-10) hitless until Seth Poffenberger started the top of the fifth with a single to center. Eli Beard followed with a grounder to third, and Clear Spring's Kyle Crist threw to Josh Kehr at second for the force.

Kehr's relay to first was wide. However, it was ruled that Beard rolled too far past the base and interfered with Kehr's throw, resulting in a double play.

"I was told (Beard) rolled over the bag," said Leonard. "That was a big play."

The Warriors made a last-ditch effort in the top of the seventh with two out. Beard walked, with Andrew Griffith coming on as a courtesy runner.

Pinch hitter David Lewis chopped a bouncer in fair territory to the left of home plate and beat Corey Morgan's throw to first, with Griffith streaking to third. However, Constable fanned Dwayne Washco to end the threat and the game.

"I think (Constable) had one win all of last year, but he has developed three pitches and had a good breaking ball today," said Shives.

The Blazers, who last appeared in the state tournament in 1992, will put the rock in the hand of Aaron Mills today against Mountain Ridge at 4:30 p.m. at Clear Spring.

"Aaron has been a four-year player for us and he deserves the start," said Shives.

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