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Clear Spring 9-10 stars stay alive

July 01, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

CLEAR SPRING - Only once did a team turn in a three-up, three-down half inning Monday in the Maryland District 1 9-10 Tournament losers' bracket semifinal between South Mountain and Clear Spring.

But the one time it happened came in the biggest of moments.

Clear Spring reliever Tim Stone retired South Mountain in order in the bottom of the sixth to preserve a 10-9 victory and keep his team alive.

Clear Spring will travel to Valley today at 6 p.m. with a spot in the championship game at stake.

"(Stoner) was in a pressure situation and he got it done," said Clear Spring coach Jason Willhite. "I never knew what to expect in this game. I just went with the flow, just like all of the fans."

Stoner did a 180 after giving up three runs upon entering in relief in the fifth. He faced the 2-3-4 hitters from South Mountain and turned in two strikeouts and induced a popout.

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South Mountain's Devin Griffith, who had two hits and scored after all three plate appearances, was stranded in the on-deck circle.

"That was the meat of our lineup and we didn't get anything," South Mountain coach Ron Hardy said.

Stoner recovered and slammed the door in a game that featured five lead changes - three in the last two innings.

Clear Spring trailed 5-3 in the top of the fifth before taking advantage of four errors to score five runs for an 8-5 edge.

South Mountain scored four in the bottom of the frame to regain the lead at 9-8, but three walks and an error in the top of the sixth allowed Clear Spring to plate two more runs for the 10-9 advantage.

"It was anybody's game the whole time," Willhite said. "We preach to be patient and look for your pitch. If the pitcher doesn't throw your pitch, then a walk is as good as a hit."

South Mountain walked 11 and finished with eight errors. Each of the last seven Clear Spring runs were unearned because of the miscues.

"Base-on-balls and errors - too many," Hardy said. "The ball was wet when we were in the field and we made too many mistakes with it."

The teams waited out lightning delays of almost an hour before starting the game. Showers surrounded the area all evening and the teams sat through two rain delays that totaled close to 30 minutes.

"It didn't matter," Hardy said. "Both teams had to wait."

Clear Spring got the win despite just three base hits - one each by Spencer Schultz, Jared Barnes, Brady Rohrer.

Spencer Griffin drove in two runs for South Mountain.

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