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Rolling Stoner

North pitcher is rock solid in West title win over Lions

May 22, 2010|By TIM KOELBLE
  • Walkersville's Joey Zuniga dives safely into first base while North Hagerstown's Andrew Yacyk waits for a late throw on Friday in the third inning of the Hubs' 5-2 victory to win the Maryland Class 2A West title.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

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    HAGERSTOWN -- Aaron Stoner's predecessors were a tough act to follow after their complete-game victories in the first two Maryland Class 2A West playoff games.

    Still, Stoner made it a hat trick and North Hagerstown's bats did just enough damage to post a 5-2 victory over Walkersville to win the region championship and a berth in next week's state semifinals. Stoner followed the lead of Greg Lynn and Corey Carpenter, who threw gems to put the Hubs in region final position.

    North (15-6) will play at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Arundel High School, against either Hammond or Patuxent. The Hubs will be making their first state appearance since 2005 when they reached the state final.

    "I really felt strong today because I hadn't pitched in over a week," said Stoner, who scattered six hits, walked only two and struck out six. "I got a little tired in the fifth but took a deep breath and went at it."

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Walkersville scored twice in the sixth, cutting into a 5-0 deficit, to break a string of 11 scoreless innings by Hubs pitchers. Both runs were unearned after a fielding error opened the door, followed by three hits.

The victory was revenge for the Hubs, who lost in the region final one year ago to Walkersville.

"I remembered everything about that game," said Stoner. "I came into today with the mindset it was not going to happen again."

It was North's second win over Walkersville this season. The Hubs beat the Lions 2-0 on April 1.

"(Lynn's) game set the tone for the tournament," said North coach Steve Myers. "We were focused, got three complete games and our defense was great."

Offensively, Ryan Sword was the leading dagger into the Lions' hearts.

The senior ripped a two-run single to right to score Charles Cvijanovich and Ty Benson for a 2-0 lead in the first off Walkersville starter Ricky Pardo.

Cvijanovich led off the third with a double and scored when Sword greeted relief pitcher Jon Anderson with an RBI single in a lefty-vs.-lefty situation for a 3-0 lead.

"Two of the biggest hits I've ever had," said Sword. "I got fastballs each time."

North added a run in the fourth on a perfect bases-loaded squeeze play as Phillip Pietro bolted from third when Aaron Stottlemyer laid down a bunt in front of the plate to give North a 4-0 lead.

In the fifth, Pietro drove in Thomas Allen, who had walked, stole second and moved to third on a balk.

Stoner had a rejuvanated seventh inning, retiring the side in order, which included an excellent back-stepping catch by Sword at third.

"I'm not always playing at third and didn't really know if I had the ball," said Sword.

The Hubs stranded nine runners on base, collecting eight hits and six walks.

North Hagerstown 5, Walkersville 2
Walkersville 000 002 0 -- 2 6 1
North 201 110 x -- 5 8 2

Pardo, Anderson (3), Raymond (6), Zuniga (6) and Wachter. Stoner and Allen. WP--Stoner (4-2). LP--Pardo (2-1).

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