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Jacobson helps save the day for South Hagerstown

Rebels from behind to win 2A West title

Rebels from behind to win 2A West title

May 20, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

Tim Jacobson is getting comfortable in his role as a hero.

Two days after the South Hagerstown catcher hit a three-run double to tie the game in an eventual 5-4 victory over Century in Saturday's Maryland Class 2A West semifinals, Jacobson was at it again. His two-run home run in the fifth inning breathed new life into the Rebels, and his double in the sixth led to the winning run as South rallied from a 5-0 deficit to stun Liberty 6-5 in Monday's 2A West final.

"It just proves one thing can do it for a team," said Jacobson, referring to his homer that cut the lead to 5-2 and, more importantly, energized what had been a lifeless Rebels dugout. "It's a great bunch of guys who want to win as much as I do."

"There's no quit in this ballclub, it's not in these boys' vocabulary," South coach Ralph Stottlemyer said. "They get frustrated, then they get after it. When they cut it to three runs, they knew they could get that. They've come back from five and six runs, so they were confident."

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South (17-3) will face Marriotts Ridge tonight at 7 at Arundel High School in the Class 2A state semifinals.

For 4 1/2 innings, the Rebels seemed destined for a disappointing loss. South was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the first four innings, stranding nine runners. Three Rebels line drives went right to Liberty outfielders. And a mental mistake by Jacobson allowed Doug Anuszewski to score from third on a foul popup to first base.

It all changed starting with Jacobson's drive to left on a 2-2 pitch from Liberty starter Dan Litfin.

"I was a little upset from the previous inning, just playing stupid not covering the plate," Jacobson said. "It felt real good. It was a fastball right over the plate."

South kept the pressure on Liberty (14-8), scoring three more runs in the fifth to tie the game. Brandon Knight reached on an infield error, Todd Jacobson was hit by a pitch, Steve Grossman drove Knight in with a single to left center to make it 5-3 and David Stone loaded the bases with a bunt single.

Tyler Presgraves followed with a fly ball to left that Liberty outfielder Rob Johnson lost in the sun, allowing Todd Jacobson to score to make it 5-4. Tim Leather's sacrifice fly to center made it 5-5.

Then in the sixth, Tim Jacobson led off with a hard shot to left past Johnson, who once again battled against the sun and lost, resulting in a double. With two out, Grossman bounced a ball up the middle for an infield single, scoring courtesy runner John Moser with the winning run.

Rebels starter Tim Leather -- rejuvenated by South's five-run fifth -- powered through the last two innings to finish off a 142-pitch complete game. Despite throwing 105 pitches through five innings, Leather was throwing his hardest down the stretch.

"I started getting stronger, and it was just the momentum," Leather said. "Momentum can win ballgames, like we just saw. Early on, I didn't have anything on my fastball, but once we got the tie, it got a little faster and started moving more."

"He just gets nastier and stronger," Stottlemyer said. "He gets stronger as he goes because he conditions himself year-round."

The Rebels will send Brandon Knight to the mound tonight against Marriotts Ridge, two days after throwing a complete game against Century.

"We have three guys who can come in and throw innings," Stottlemyer said. "Our pitchers are conditioned, so (two days' rest) is plenty for him. They're not doing anything dangerous to hurt themselves. They do the right things."

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