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Leopards turn the tie to get win over Hubs

March 31, 2009|By JACK HILL III

SMITHSBURG -- When it was all said and done, the Smithsburg softball team took advantage of its opportunities.

The debate looms on whether the Leopards got an advantage from that opportunity.

Emily Bolton scored from third on Bethany Garnand's RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Smithsburg a 4-3 victory over North Hagerstown on Monday in a controversial finish under the International Tiebreaker Rules.

Garnand came to the plate after Bolton advanced to third when Kayla Wastler reached on an error. Garnand, the winning pitcher, stroked a drive to right-center field to break the 3-3 tie and bring home the winning run.

"I knew I was in the best position and I knew that I didn't have to worry about it," Garnand said. "So, I relaxed and came around. I felt accomplished."

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The hit was the second act of what became a dramatic eighth inning.

The game moved into extra innings, which in Maryland calls for the game to move into International Tiebreaker Rules. In the tiebreaker, each team starts with the player who made the last out in the previous inning starting as a runner on second base. Only in this instance, the rule was misapplied.

When the eighth inning started, the Hubs didn't send a runner out to second base. North had the hits that could have possibly led to a run if a runner had started on second.

"The umpires said nothing about going into International Tiebreaker Rules or for us to put a runner on second base after the seventh inning," North coach Amanda Fleming said.

After North went scoreless in the eighth, Smithsburg started its half of the inning by sending Bolton out to second. That brought Fleming out of the North dugout.

The umpires originally ruled that Smithsburg could not put a runner on second base.

Smithsburg coach Brian Getz came out briefly and briefly spoke to the officials before returning to the dugout.

Suddenly, the umpires ruled that Smithsburg could have a runner on second base.

North played the rest of the game under protest.

According to the International Tiebreaker, each state votes to set when the rule is implimented, which is the eighth in Maryland. According to the rule, the umpires, not the coaches, have the responsibility to validate the rule.

But also according to Maryland rules, protests are not allowed, so the game is presently ruled as a Smithsburg victory.

Garnand struck out 18 while allowing two earned runs to get her third win in four decisions. She also had an RBI double in the first.

"We had a few errors, but we bounced back from them," Garnand said.

North pitcher Rachel Amalfitano fanned seven and allowed three earned runs and five hits. Alyssa Collier had three hits and Allysen Breeden had two hits for the Hubs.

"I think we played a great game," Fleming said. "I think we outplayed Smithsburg. I am proud of the way the girls played. I think Rachel pitched a great game today. I felt her control was good. She had good location today."

Smithsburg 4, North Hagerstown 3
North 200 000 10 -- 3 9 4
Smithsburg 100 110 01 -- 4 5 3

Ra. Amalfitano and Breeden. Garnand and Sprecher. WP -- Garnand (3-1). LP -- Ra. Amalfitano.

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