CLEAR SPRING — When Clear Spring’s baseball team gave up a 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning against Boonsboro in Friday’s Maryland Class 1A West Region East Sectional quarterfinal, Blazers coach Mark Shives unleashed a “motivational” speech near the dugout.
The Blazers’ players weren’t finished, chortling, “We’ve got nine more outs.”
After Boonsboro hit Clear Spring with a five-run fifth to take a 5-3 lead, the Blazers answered with four runs in the bottom half that stood up for a 7-5 victory.
“I said all along we can hit, we can hit home runs and we can score,” said Shives.
The Blazers (12-6) hit three home runs on Friday and have more than 30 in the season when the COR aluminum bats would supposedly be less productive.
It took a two-out rally against Boonsboro’s Riley Stephenson, who appeared in control after falling behind 3-0 in the second inning.
Nick Hill opened the scoring in the bottom of the fifth with his fourth homer of the year to make the score 5-4. Brad Mentzer singled, Logan Appel walked and both scored when Dylan Stouffer ripped a first-pitch double to the fence for a 6-5 lead. Jared Brant singled in Stouffer to make it 7-5.
Hill pitched 1 1/3 innings, shutting down Boonsboro after the Warriors scored five runs off Forrest Williamson and D.J. Kinna.
Stephenson singled and Luke Harsh doubled to start the Boonsboro fifth. Zach Poffenberger walked and Justin Lewis’ groundout drove in Stepehenson. Two walks, a Clear Spring error, a wild pitch and two singles produced Boonsboro’s four other runs.
Williamson went 4 1/3 innings before faltering near the 80-pitch count: “He was getting tired,” said Shives.
Clear Spring, which has won 8 of 10, is coming together at the right time.
“What’s making a difference has been the defense,” said Shives. “It’s starting to shore up.”
Clear Spring jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Stouffer hit his seventh homer of the year, taking a Stephenson fastball deep on the first pitch.
In the second inning, Adam Mellott hit his fourth homer of the season, a solo shot.
“People really think we hit all our homers at home, but actually we’ve hit more on the road,” said Shives.
Boonsboro (10-11) had other opportunities it failed to cash in.
The Warriors left two on base in the first after Gunner Whipp was picked off. In the fifth, Boonsboro left the bases loaded.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Warriors coach Ben Leonard. “We struggled with the bats making good swings. We wasted opportunities.”
Stouffer and Mellott had two hits each for Clear Spring. Ryan Ruiz had a pair for Boonsboro.
The Blazers travel to Manchester Valley on Monday at 4:30 p.m. in the East Sectional semifinals.
Clear Spring 7, Boonsboro 5
Boonsboro 000 050 0 — 5 6 1
Clear Spring 210 040 x — 7 7 4
Stephenson and Gregory. Williamson, Kinna (5), Hill (5) and Stouffer. WP — Hill. LP — Stephenson. HR — CS: Stouffer (1st, one on), Mellott (2nd, none on), Hill (5th, none on).