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Wrongs go right for Blazers

March 28, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

CLEAR SPRING -- Even though Clear Spring defeated St. Maria Goretti 13-5 on Friday, Blazers coach Mark Shives watched painfully.

It had to be equally painful for Goretti coach Duane Myers watching the loss.

Clear Spring (4-0) collected 13 hits, but the offensive approach and a defensive lapse has Shives sitting on an uneasy seat.

"I think we're taking games for granted, struggling to score in clutch situations and still looking for an identity," said Shives. "Right now, it's like my product hasn't stepped on the field."

It appeared that product didn't come out for the first inning.

Kyle Crist struck out the first two batters, but he gave up singles to J.J. O'Neill and Kyle Smith before O'Neill scored on a wild pitch.

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After Will Murray walked, Jay Donoghue lifted a fly ball down the right-field line that was dropped by Brian Lesher, allowing Smith and Murray to score to give Goretti a 3-0 lead.

The Blazers threatened against Goretti's Smith, but failed in the clutch and left the bases loaded in the first inning. It was part of the seven stranded runners the Blazers left in the first three innings, even though Clear Spring took the lead with the help of Goretti's defense in the second.

"I said before the season that defense was our key this year and tonight we gave (Clear Spring) extra outs," Myers said. "You can't do that against one of the top teams in the county."

Clear Spring's rally started in the second with Josh Kehr's one-out single. Brandon Glazer followed with a single that right fielder Vince Turano misplayed to advance the runners. Brad Banzhoff reached when Goretti shortstop O'Neill threw wildly to first.

Crist followed with a two-run single and the Gaels added two more fielding errors to stake the Blazers to a 6-3 lead.

Smith's 64-pitch , two-plus inning work day ended with Kehr's leadoff single in the third inning and back-to-back doubles by Glazer and Banzhoff.

"(Smith) just couldn't find his curveball today and you need that against a fast ball-hitting team like Clear Spring." said Myers.

Joel Rowe and Corey Morgan each drove in runs to greet Murray in relief as Clear Spring took a 10-3 advantage.

Crist (2-0) allowed two runs in the fifth inning and was pulled after walking Murray, his fourth of the game. Donoghue had an RBI infield hit and O'Neill, who had doubled, scored on a throwing error.

"We're not going to sneak up on anyone this year," said Shives. "We've got to hit in the clutch. We're not moving runners. ... It looks like we're going for the big bang."

Glazer and Kehr each had three hits and Thurber and Morgan each had a pair. Morgan had three RBIs, including two in a three-run fifth.

O'Neill had two of Goretti's five hits.

Clear Spring 13, St. Maria Goretti 5
Goretti 300 020 0 -- 5 5 5
Clear Spring 064 030 x 13 13 2

Smith, Murray (3), Grimsley (6) and Donoghue; Crist, Jordan (5), Kehr (6), Banzhoff (7) and Morgan. WP -- Crist (2-0), LP -- Smith (0-1).

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