Blazers let season go to seed

May 05, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

WILLIAMSPORT -- It was a game the Clear Spring baseball team desperately needed to play.

Tuesday was the cutoff date for seeding purposes in the upcoming region tournament, and the Blazers were one game short of the minimum 14 needed to earn a seed.

While Clear Spring began Tuesday with a 12-2 overall record, the Blazers were only 12-1 in the eyes of the state, which does not count tournament games.

Originally scheduled to be played at Clear Spring, the game was shifted to Williamsport since the Wildcats already had a game scheduled with Smithsburg on Tuesday.


With a long enough respite from the rain, Clear Spring defeated Williamsport 6-0, not only clinching a tie for the MVAL Antietam title, but officially putting itself in the market for a top seed on the tournament bracket, which will be drawn up today.

"We needed to get this game in, and my hat goes off to (Williamsport coach Larnie Vickers) and the athletic directors," said Clear Spring coach Mark Shives. "Larnie knows these kids and did not want to get in the way of our kids."

Clear Spring is 6-1 in the Antietam and Smithsburg is 5-2. Williamsport's second contest against Smithsburg was called after one inning of play when more rain set in.

Shives got together with Vickers early in the day to get the field in playable condition.

"Principals at each school agreed to let the game be played at 3 and Ed Masood (Washington County Schools Supervisor of Athletics) agreed. And then it was working together to get a bus and the officials together," said Williamsport AD Stan Stouffer.

"The boys only get 18 games so you want to get a game in when you can and get them at-bats and plays in the field," said Vickers.

So much for a heated rivalry. Williamsport (2-12, 1-8) could have stuck it to Clear Spring (13-2).

But the underdog Wildcats weren't just going to roll over and die.

Freshman Tyler Byers made his first varsity appearance and stymied the Blazers through two scoreless innings before an error led to a 1-0 lead in the third inning.

With Josh Kehr on second base, Kyle Crist had an infield hit to move Kehr to third. Jordan Thurber then delivered with a sacrifice fly to plate Kehr.

Thurber was equally impressive on the mound, allowing Williamsport only one hit, walking none and striking out three in his scheduled three-inning stint.

An RBI single by Corey Morgan and fielding error by Williamsport got Clear Spring two runs in the fourth inning.

Thurber drilled a home run in the fifth, his third in two games, and the Blazers closed the scoring in the sixth on a two-run single by Crist.

"I made some adjustments by getting a little wider at the plate, so I'm seeing the ball a little better," said Thurber. "I'm just trying to keep my arms extended now."

Crist (4-0) went the final four innings for the win, allowing two hits and striking out six. He also had three of Clear Spring's eight hits

Byers did not back down in his first start and ended with 102 pitches, allowing seven hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings.

"He kept the ball down early and let his defense make some plays," said Vickers. "He showed me a lot today."

Tim Koelble also blogged about the game. Check it out at

Clear Spring 6, Williamsport 0
Williamsport 000 000 0 -- 0 3 4
Clear Spring 001 212 x -- 6 8 0

Byers, Adams (6) and Weber. Thurber, Crist (4) and Morgan. WP -- Crist (4-0). LP -- Byers (0-1). HR -- CS: Thurber (5th, none on).

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