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Blazers edge Rebels

April 08, 2010|By TIM KOELBLE
  • South Hagerstown catcher Trevor Haupt, left, tags Clear Spring's Ryan Aaron out at the plate in the bottom of the first inning Wednesday afternoon.
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

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    CLEAR SPRING -- Missed signs and bad baserunning nearly proved fatal, but in the end it was an inning of perfect execution that led to Clear Spring's 6-5 victory over South Hagerstown on Wednesday.

    "It's early and we're 5-0, but I'm not happy with this product right now," said Clear Spring coach Mark Shives.

    The win gave the Blazers (5-0, 3-0) sole possession of first place in the MVAL Antietam Conference following Williamsport's loss to North Hagerstown.

    Shives was happy with how the Blazers broke a 5-5 tie with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning without the benefit of a hit.

    South (3-4, 0-3) reliever Luke Toms, making only his second appearance of the year, walked Mike Braithwaite and Brandon Glazer to open the sixth.

    Cleanup batter Joel Rowe, who had a double and an infield single in earlier plate appearances, was then called upon to do the unusual thing from that spot -- bunt.

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He did it to perfection and moved both runners up.

Corey Morgan then followed with a deep fly to center field that plated Braithwaite for the lead.

"Nobody is bigger than the game and to Joel Rowe's credit, he never questioned the bunt," said Shives.

That made a winner of relief pitcher Brad Banzhoff, who replaced Glazer in the fifth and hurled 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief, which included squirming out of a potential jam in the top of the sixth.

With runners at first and second and one out, Timmy Hoover sent a sharp grounder to third that Alan Rager fielded to begin a nifty 5-4-3 double play.

The Blazers took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the third as Rowe scored on a single by Cody Englehart, sending Morgan to third following a walk, sacrifice and wild pitch.

Morgan scored on a fly ball to center by Austin Yost. All the while, Englehart was scrambling to erase a base-running mistake. He had rounded second and had to retrace his steps after the catch was made in center and was safe only as the throw back to first was wide.

"We got a break on that play with Englehart running," said Shives of the near mistake.

Glazer and Toms each homered in the early going. For Toms, it was his third of the year.

The Rebels also had opportunities in the third inning, but left the bases loaded on a double and two walks before Glazer struck out Toms.

"We played hard but just couldn't get the clutch hit in that inning," said South coach Ralph Stottlemyer. "(Starting pitcher Dylan) May settled in after the first inning. He's getting a little stronger."

Clear Spring 6, South Hagerstown 5
S. Hagerstown 210 020 0 -- 5 5 1
Clear Spring 302 001 x -- 6 6 1

May, Toms (5) and Haupt. Glazer, Banzhoff (5) and Morgan. WP--Banzhoff (1-0). LP--May. HR--SH: Toms (2nd, none on); CS: Glazer (1st, one on).

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