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Blazers rally in 7th to stay undefeated

April 15, 2010|By TIM KOELBLE

CLEAR SPRING -- The Clear Spring baseball team's unbeaten mark appeared in serious peril by the time the Blazers retired Smithsburg in the top of the first inning Wednesday.

However, a sterling long relief performance and seventh-inning rally pushed Clear Spring to an 8-7 victory over Smithsburg in an MVAL Antietam battle, keeping the Blazers unbeaten through eight games.

The win also gave them a two-game lead in the Antietam with a 5-0 record after second-place North Hagerstown lost to South Hagerstown on Wednesday.

Joel Rowe's searing grounder between first and second found its way into right field with two outs and the bases loaded to cap the comeback for Clear Spring.

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"I wanted to lay off a curveball and was looking for a fastball and I got one down low," said Rowe. "We didn't get down on ourselves. I knew we could come back and (Brad Banzhoff) was in the groove in relief."

Clear Spring starter Brad Jordan walked a pair of batters, gave up singles to Aaron Dinterman and Dylan Eyler and a triple to Nieko Akers and the Leopards (4-4, 2-4) had a 4-0 first-inning lead.

Smithsburg added a run on two walks and an error, and Jordan was lifted in favor of Banzhoff in the second inning.

Banzhoff kept Smithsburg at bay while his teammates came back against Leopards starter Marco Cardone, who was in control through three innings before starting to waver.

He walked two in the fourth but escaped trouble when Cody Englehart hit into a double play. In the fifth, Cardone helped the Blazers by walking five. Along with a key error, the Blazers knotted the game at 5-all on Tyler Walling's pinch single.

"Banzhoff was lights out and did what we asked of him to get us back in the game," said Clear Spring coach Mark Shives.

Banzhoff allowed two unearned runs in the top of the sixth as Smithsburg took a 7-5 lead.

Brian Lesher and Walling opened the bottom of the seventh with hits off Smithsburg's Ben Daniels.

A Smithsburg error allowed one run to score, Matt Braithwaite delivered a sacrifice fly to tie the game and, after an intentional walk to Brandon Glazer to load the bases, Rowe delivered the game-winner.

"We make things interesting," said Shives. "I still haven't figured this team out. I'm still looking for the story on who we really are."

The Leopards, for the second straight game, lost on a final at-bat.

"Marco threw hard and still needs to find himself, and Daniels got ground balls but we just didn't make the plays when it counted," said coach Trey Cobb.

Smithsburg 410 002 0 -- 7 8 2
Clear Spring 000 050 3 -- 8 8 2

Cardone, Daniels (5) and Gouff. B. Jordan, Banzhoff (2), Yost (7) and Morgan. WP-Yost (2-0). LP--Daniels (0-1).

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