South Mountain avenges lone loss

July 02, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

CHESTNUT GROVE -- Pitching was clearly the difference in Tuesday's Maryland District 1 Junior Tournament losers' bracket game.

South Mountain had it, and with a little help from Clear Spring's pitching, gained revenge from its sole tournament loss and rolled to a 13-2 five-inning victory at Chestnut Grove Park. Up next for South Mountain is a battle Thursday at Conococheague at 5:30 p.m.

Patrick Hollis and Nathan Hardy combined to hold Clear Spring to five hits and solo runs in the first and fifth innings -- one night after Clear Spring had erupted for a baker's dozen in a 13-12 win over Valley.

"We had good pitching, we didn't make any mental errors and we took advantage of the opportunities we had for the first time in the tournament," South Mountain manager Dave Wilbraham said.


After spotting Clear Spring a 1-0 lead on an unearned first-inning run, South Mountain took the lead for good in the top of the second on a two-run double by Ean Stine.

That was just the beginning for South Mountain, which came right back with a seven spot in the third off starter Russell Hermon and reliever D.J. Naile.

An error and three walks by Hermon produced one run and Joseph Minoglio greeted Naile's arrival with a two-run single, scoring Hollis and Aaron Cantler for a 5-1 lead. Stine delivered a two-run single and when the inning was completed, South Mountain had scored seven runs on three hits with the aid of six walks. Hollis, in his second at-bat in the inning, had a two-run single.

All told, Clear Spring issued 12 free passes, eight of them turning into scores.

"This was the kind of game we've been looking for," said Wilbraham. "We had let some teams back into games with mental mistakes and that was a difference tonight. We only made two errors."

Shortstop Aaron Turner, who scored three runs, made three fine plays at shortstop and the South Mountain defense even turned in a 1-4-3 double play.

South Mountain finished off Clear Spring with four runs in the fifth, all coming after two outs.

Hollis started on the hill for South Mountain and went the first 1 1/3 innings with 20 pitches, before giving way to Hardy, who went the rest of the way to earn the win.

"It was by design starting Hollis that way with 20 pitches," said Wilbraham. "It's a team deal and we feel we've got some pitching."

That's what lacked for Clear Spring, along with the timely hitting it used in a 16-11 victory over South Mountain in the tournament opener.

"I'm not disappointed in our kids," said Clear Spring manager Larry Kees. "We just didn't hit the baseball tonight. And this was only the second time all year Naile has pitched."

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