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Blazers, Hubs try to go out with big finish

May 28, 2010|By TIM KOELBLE

North Hagerstown and Clear Spring are each aiming to finish the prep baseball season with a "W."

That means something good has happened.

Saturday, both Washington County teams will put their talents on display at Cal Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, Md., looking to bring back state championships.

Clear Spring meets talented St. Michaels in the Maryland Class 1A final at 1 p.m. North Hagerstown takes on Parkside at 4, looking for the top jewel in 2A.

The Hubs (16-6) are on a five-game win streak, including Tuesday's 10-4 victory over Hammond. North is making its first state final appearance since 2005 and fifth overall. It won state titles in 1986 and 1989. Parkside (18-6) rallied from a 6-0 deficit to post a 10-6 win over Eastern Tech to earn the school's first-ever berth in a final.

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Pitching has been a plus in the playoffs for the Hubs with complete-game wins from Greg Lynn, Corey Carpenter and Aaron Stoner prior to the Hammond victory.

"I expect pitching to be strong Saturday," said North coach Steve Myers. "(Stoner) is rested and ready to go.

Stoner will get the starting nod on Saturday, with Lynn in reserve and Connor Spessard ready for relief duty, as he did on Tuesday when he picked up the win with 1 2/3 innings of work.

"We've talked since Tuesday about just being focused Saturday and hustle," said Myers. "You play for every play. You want to come back home with the trophy that says 'champion' and not 'runnerup.'"

The Hubs' team earned run average dropped to 4.83, while the team batting average is .368. Ty Benson leads North in hitting (.426), RBIs (24), runs scored (25) and total bases (51). He is second with 29 hits.

Clear Spring (19-3) and St. Michaels (22-2) are coming off shutout victories in Tuesday's state semis.

The Blazers picked up their fourth-straight win with a 10-0 victory over Surrattsville, while St. Michaels threw blanks at Harford Tech in a 4-0 win.

Clear Spring won its only state title in 1980 under the Class C banner and last appeared in the state semifinals in 2008 when St. Michaels won the state crown. The Saints returned to the final last year before losing to Bohemia Manor.

"Two of the best teams in the state and it will be two top pitchers on the mound," said Clear Spring coach Mark Shives. "Both teams are at the top of their games. We have to take care of any opportunity we get.

"This is an opportunity for our guys to reap the rewards for the work they have put in. We hit a little dead point during the middle of the season but to their credit, everyone has bounced back strong as a team."

Brian Lesher came up huge on the mound Tuesday with a no-hitter against Surrattsville and the Blazers will look to another ace in the finale with Brandon Glazer (6-0, 2.70 ERA).

He is likely to be matched with St. Michaels' junior ace Adam Parks (6-2, 0.87 ERA). In 48 1/3 innings, Parks has struck out 81. He also delivered a three-run homer on Tuesday, his fourth of the year.

Glazer has five homers, Corey Morgan leads the Blazers with 31 RBIs and Morgan (.517) and Glazer (.516) are one-two in batting. Brad Banzhoff leads the team with 33 hits.

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