Blazers cash in as Green's HR pays off

May 14, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

CLEAR SPRING -- He's the kind of player who gets penciled in the lineup every day. Then he goes about his business without the fanfare some others receive.

Well, those "others" need to move over.

Josh Green became the center of attention on Wednesday. Clear Spring's senior right fielder was mobbed by teammates at home plate after blasting a game-winning home run to right field, giving the Blazers a stunning come-from-behind 6-5 victory over Smithsburg in the Maryland Class 1A West semifinals.

The win allows the Blazers (15-2) to host Catoctin in the 1A West final on Friday. Catoctin defeated Northern Garrett 6-1 in the other semifinal.

"I just wanted to make contact and get on base, but I knew this one was gone when I hit it," said Green of his second homer of the year. "At first I couldn't believe it."


"His skinny (butt) was turning on the ball in BP, so it wasn't a surprise to me," Clear Spring coach Mark Shives said. "This became one of the better moments ever at this field."

Green's one-out blast off Smithsburg reliever Jay Shafer culminated a rally that prevented the Blazers from turning in their uniforms.

"The call was for a fastball and (Shafer) got it up," said Smithsburg coach Trey Cobb. "(Green) had to do a lot of things right and he did."

Smithsburg (12-4) led 5-1 with ace pitcher Josh Conway on the mound, giving every indication it was the team about to move on.

However, Clear Spring mounted a two-out surge to forge a 5-all tie in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Corey Morgan, Brad Banzoff and Brandon Glazer had successive singles to load the bases before Josh Kehr drove a Conway pitch to center. Kyle Orndorff tracked the ball to the left, but couldn't contain it and allowed three runs to score.

"Kyle said the ball hit the pocket of his glove as he was closing it," said Cobb.

Kyle Crist followed with a single to left to score Kehr and tie the game.

"These guys threw the lunch pail out and dug down deep to come back," said Shives. "I thought I knew these kids, but they really showed me. I didn't know if we knew who we really were in the first three innings."

The Blazers took a 1-0 lead in the first on a double by Kehr, infield grounder and wild pitch. Smithsburg countered with three in the second off Crist.

Jack Schwartz's leadoff homer, Justin Morgan's sacrifice fly and a throwing error by Glazer staked the Leopards to a 3-1 lead.

Smithsburg extended its lead to 5-1 in to fifth off reliever Jordan Thurber on a single, two walks and a throwing error by Banzoff.

"We came off the field in the fourth inning and we knew we had to come alive," said Glazer.

Clear Spring began to show some life in the fifth but left the bases loaded. Conway bore down after opening the inning with runners at second and third and none out to escape unscathed.

"When we didn't score I thought it was 'See ya,'" said Shives.

Conway allowed seven hits, walked four and struck out four while allowing two earned runs in seven innings.

It was a bitter pill for the Leopards to swallow after the first five innings.

"You would expect us to hold the lead, but good teams make you pay for mistakes and that's what Clear Spring did," said Cobb. "It's hard for the seniors, especially kids like Conway and Orndorff. They have been the pillars of Smithsburg athletics in all sports."

Catoctin defeated Clear Spring 10-8 in the their only meeting in the regular season. The winner of Friday's game moves on to the Class 1A state semifinals on Tuesday in Frederick, Md.

Clear Spring 6, Smithsburg 5
Smithsburg 030 020 0 -- 5 6 2
Clear Spring 100 004 1 -- 6 8 2

Conway, Shafer (7) and Gouff. Crist, Thurber (4), Glazer (6) and Morgan. WP -- Glazer. LP -- Shafer. HR -- S: Schwartz (2nd, none on); CS: Green (7th, none on).

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