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Laferte lifts Hubs to win in 11th

May 09, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

Despite nearly a solid week of rain, Brian Laferte seemed to have the only moisture on North Hagerstown's baseball field.

"My palms were starting to sweat, but I kept my cool," Laferte said.

That's because the outcome of Friday's first-round Maryland Class 2A West playoff game against Francis Scott Key was in his hands. Laferte responded by ripping a bases-loaded single with two outs in the 11th inning to lift the Hubs to a 3-2 victory.

An odd chain of events put North's center fielder in the position. He was the sixth batter to hit in the inning and figured he would never get a chance to end it.

Instead Jeremy Wood drew a walk off FSK reliever Casey Klein to lead off the inning and took second on Aaron Stoner's one-out single. After a passed ball advanced the runners, Jeremy Barron was intentionally walked to load the bases.

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The Hubs (5-10-1) turned to Tyler Ernde to end the game, but he missed contact on a suicide squeeze try that turned Wood into a dead duck at the plate. FSK then elected to intentionally walk Ernde to reload the bases.

Enter Laferte.

"I didn't think it would get down to me," Laferte said. "I had to pinch myself. But my first three at-bats were really crappy. I knew this was my chance to get a hit for the team. This is a good spark for the team."

Stoner crossed the plate with his arms raised in celebration as the Hubs won the right to play top-seeded Century on Monday.

"I can't live through too many more like that," said North coach Steve Myers. "Brian is a senior and after his first three at-bats, it showed that he had enough composure to get that hit."

Stoner won the game with four innings of strong relief to preserve a stellar starting performance by Greg Lynn. The game became an unlikely pitchers' duel pitting Lynn's finesse against FSK's hard-throwing Collin Mills.

Lynn allowed one run on seven hits while striking out eight in seven innings. He was matched by Mills, who went eight innings, allowing an unearned run on three hits and four walks while striking out nine.

"(Lynn) is not a strikeout pitcher, but he mixed his pitches well and hit his spots," Myers said. "If he does that, he's tough. Stoner is very composed for a sophomore. He's become our go-to guy."

North took a 1-0 lead in the first as Barron led off with an infield single and Ernde reached when center fielder Nick Omelia dropped his fly ball. Laferte popped a bunt to Mills on the mound, but he threw away his attempt to double off Ernde at first, allowing Barron to score.

FSK tied the score in the sixth as Tyler Linkins doubled and scored on Bobby Wynkoop's single.

The two teams traded runs in the 10th as Omelia scored when Mills was caught in a rundown at second to give FSK the lead. North kept the game alive on Thomas Allen's RBI single that put the Hubs in position to pull out the win.

North Hagerstown 3, F.S. Key 2
Francis Scott Key 000 001 000 10 -- 2 10 4
N. Hagerstown 100 000 000 11 -- 3 7 1

Mills, Klein (9) and Woodrow; Lynn, Stoner (8) and Allen. WP -- Stoner. LP -- Klein.

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