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Making an entrance

Wildcats arrive fashionably late to turn back Leopards

May 06, 2010|By TIM KOELBLE
  • Williamsport's Logan Jamison climbs the fence while attempting to catch Smithsburg's Justin Morgan's home run ball.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

  • View all of the photos for purchase!

    WILLIAMSPORT -- True to form, the Williamsport baseball team fell behind early. But there are a few times the Wildcats don't stay behind.

    Williamsport came alive on Wednesday in time to erase a 12-1 deficit and turn it into a 14-13 MVAL Antietam victory over Smithsburg. The Leopards even had a 7-0 lead in the first inning.

    "In our 11 losses, we've been outscored three-to-one in the first two innings," said Williamsport coach Larnie Vickers. "Then we wake up and come to play. Maybe I can get all our games switched to 6 p.m."

    Connor Arnone did it all for the Wildcats (8-11, 6-8), striking the game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh to score Logan Jamison and cap the unlikely comeback.

    Arnone also did his part in the field, coming in from center field to pitch in relief in the fourth inning with Smithsburg leading 12-1. He shut down the Leopards until the seventh, which allowed the Wildcats to stage their own warfare at the plate.

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Tied at 13, Williamsport's seventh opened on a throwing error and a single by Chris Kiley, setting the stage for Arnone's game-winning single off Smithsburg's K.C. Raios.

"Connor is a player. He was a spark for us," said Vickers.

Arnone also walked three times, reached on an error and scored four runs.

"Coach told me around the third inning he might need me," said Arnone, who hurled 2 1/3 innings. "I just went in there trying to keep the ball down and let the defense do its job."

Smithsburg tied the game at 13 in the seventh as Justin Morgan singled and Brock Heiston walked to open the inning.

Arnone gave way to Tyler Byers, who allowed the runners to move to second and third on Jake Gouff's sacrifice bunt. After an intentional walk to Ryne Willard loaded the bases, Byers plunked Aaron Dinterman to bring home Morgan with the tying run.

Smithsburg starter Marco Cardone walked four and left five Williamsport runners on base through three innings but ran into major difficulty in the fourth.

Jamison's single got things started before Cardone walked four straight batters and was lifted in favor of Ben Daniels. Josh Hammond greeted Daniels by sending his first pitch over the fence in center field for a grand slam that cut the deficit to 12-7.

It was the boost Williamsport needed.

"(Jason) had struck out twice but I told him to trust his hands and let it go," said Vickers. "He was thinking too much."

After scoring two runs in the fifth, Williamsport followed with four runs in the sixth inning against reliever Evan Dennis.

Two walks and Arnone's bloop single loaded the sacks to set up Blake Bandeff's three-run double.

Bandeff eventually scored on a wild pitch for a 13-12 lead.

Smithsburg had built its early lead largely on Dylan Eyler's two-run double and a two-run single by Jack Schwartz. Schwartz hit a two-run homer and Morgan added solo shot in the fourth.

"We just didn't get it done with pitching," said Smithsburg coach Trey Cobb.

Williamsport 14, Smithsburg 13
Smithsburg 702 300 1 -- 13 11 1
Williamsport 100 624 1 -- 14 12 1

Cardone, Daniels (4), Dennis (6), Raios (7) and Gouff. Hammond, Cline (1), Carr (3), Arnone (4), Byers (7) and Butts. WP--Byers (1-1). LP--Raios (0-1). HR--S: Schwartz (4th, one on), Morgan (4th, none on); W: Hammond (4th, three on).

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