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Blazers' aces sign D-I letters

June 06, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

CLEAR SPRING - A pair of NCAA Division I baseball programs are hoping Clear Spring's two senior aces can pitch for them the way they did in leading the Blazers to their first Maryland Class 1A West title in 16 years.

John Kehr and Josh Constable reaped the rewards in the Clear Spring lobby Thursday afternoon, signing their letters-of-intent - Kehr for Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and Constable for Radford (Va.) University.

"I started the calling process in the winter. Baseball, like anything else, it's a business and you're marketing guys," Blazers coach Mark Shives said. "We've got two 6-foot-3, 6-foot-5 guys both throwing 85-to-90 miles per hour. It was a matter of what (school) was their fit, and academics play a big part in this."

Shives said both players' commitment to baseball over other sports paid off.

"Those two guys, there's a 6-5 center and a 6-3 swingman on the basketball team - and I'm the coach - but they didn't play basketball so they could lift weights and get in condition to make a run at a D-I program," Shives said. "A day like today makes the sacrifices well worth it."

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Kehr went 6-1 with 1.40 ERA for the Blazers (18-4). In 44 innings, he allowed 19 hits and 13 walks while striking out 59. He also hit .311 with seven doubles and five homers.

"I picked Liberty because of my faith," Kehr said. "I wanted to go to a Christian school, and I felt this was the best choice for me and what I want to do."

Constable went 5-0 with a 0.89 ERA. In 39 innings, he allowed 16 hits and 14 walks while striking out 59. He also hit .400 with four doubles and five homers.

"I like the (Liberty) coaching staff," Constable said. "It seems they've kind of started over with a new coach and a lot of freshman players, and it seemed like a good time for me to get in."

Kehr credited his improved control for his success, while Constable said his long-toss sessions over the winter to build up his arm strength paid dividends.

They both said they'll remember their high school years - and especially this past season - fondly.

"It was just a great experience," Kehr said. "I've never played for a team this good. It was great fun and we were like a family. It was the greatest time of my life."

"It was a lot of fun to go out every day knowing you had an awesome team behind you," Constable said.

"They've set the tone for years to come, that you can set a goal and it can be accomplished," Shives said.

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