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Clear Spring turns goose egg into gold, gains berth in final

July 01, 2010|By BOB PARASILITI
  • Clear Spring first baseman Conner Michael stretches to make the catch as Valley's Brendan Kemp races to the bag in a close play in the third inning Wednesday evening. Kemp was called safe on the play.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

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CHEWSVILLE -- The Valley and Clear Spring 9-10 All-Star teams each scored a victory Wednesday.

Clear Spring got the one that counted most, though.

Valley held Clear Spring scoreless in the first inning, something no one else had done during the Maryland District 1 Tournament. But Clear Spring scored all its runs in the next three innings to take a 19-1 victory at Aaron Steiner Field and advance to host the district final.

"That was our goal, to keep them off the scoreboard in the first," said Valley manager Mike Mathias, whose team will play in the elimination final. "We accomplished what we wanted to do."

It didn't seem to matter. Valley missed its chance to get the early lead when Andrew Mathias was gunned down at the plate on the back end of a double play started by Dustin Moser's grounder to the mound.

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"I don't know if it was a momentum switch, but everything shifted when he was thrown out at home," Mike Mathias said.

It was all Clear Spring needed. It countered with five runs in the top of the second, four more in the third and added emphasis with 10 in the fourth to end the game by the 10-run rule.

It all put Clear Spring pitcher Josh Colliflower in a very comfortable position as he covered 3 1/3 innings on 50 pitches.

"Yeah, kind of," said Colliflower about the odd feeling of being forced to pitch without early run support. "(But when we scored in the second) it made it easier for me."

Clear Spring changed its game ever so slightly in the first and even had Dylan Altman thrown out at the plate to end the first inning. But it returned to the aggressive abandon that allowed it to score 80 runs in its four games in the tournament.

"I knew when I was watching (Valley) warm up that they were a good team," said Clear Spring manager Pete Lazich. "I thought this was going to be a hitting game. Josh came in and pitched well and we didn't panic. Still, it's always nice when you have a five-run lead."

Clear Spring pounded out 13 hits to go along with 10 walks and seven Valley errors to win in a landslide.

Clear Spring scored five in the second, keyed by RBI singles by Conner Michael and Tyler Hill and an RBI double by Jaret Lazich.

It upped its lead to 9-0 in the third, highlighted by another run-scoring single by Hill and an RBI double by Zack Greenlee.

The wheels came off for Valley in the fourth by allowing 10 runs on just three hits. Four of Valley's five pitchers combined for six walks and two hit batsmen in the inning. Altman and Hill collected two-run singles in the outburst.

Valley scored its only run in the fourth on consecutive singles by Dustin Moser, Chris Martin and Dylan Eyler. Colliflower left with two on and one out, allowing Zach Hill to come in and finish off the win.

Hill was 3 for 3 with four RBIs while Altman drove in four runs. Colliflower went 3 for 3 while striking out two in his six-hitter.

"We have a bunch of aggressive kids who understand the game and sometimes they get a little greedy," Pete Lazich said. "Valley was prepared for us today, but we just took advantage of their mistakes."

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