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Prep Baseball: Rebels kick away chances in late innings

April 16, 2013|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN --

For the second night in succession, the South Hagerstown baseball team went to the seventh inning tied 2-2 with its opponent.

The Rebels got the same unfortunate result Tuesday as Catoctin scored three unearned runs to deal the Rebels a 5-2 MVAL Antietam Conference setback.

The sore spot is in the linescore for South —  only two runs, only three hits, committing six errors.

Through five innings, pitcher Aaron Roby was as good as he’s ever been and the South defense was as effective.

But South coach Zack Swisher could only shake his head after he watched his team virtually give Catoctin (7-3, 4-3) five extra outs over the final two innings.

“It wasn’t from a lack of effort,” Swisher said. “(Roby) threw a great game and the defense was great.”

For five innings.

South (4-6, 1-5) scored twice in the bottom of the first against Mount St. Mary’s-bound Seth Schubert. Tim Kitchen and Alex Miller walked to start the game and each eventually scored on infield outs.

The Rebels, who had only three hits, squandered a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the fifth against Schubert when pinch hitter Chase Shingleton struck out with two runners in scoring position.

Roby allowed only three hits through five innings, walking only two and striking out seven on 63 pitches.

“He threw strikes, got ahead of the hitters,” Swisher said.

Equally impressed was veteran Catoctin coach Mike Franklin, who got to celebrate a win on his birthday.

“(Roby) was tough, especially changing speeds,” Franklin said.

Mark Smith led off the Catoctin sixth with a single and then the South defense went south.

Joey Johnson hit a bouncer to third, a perfect double-play opportunity. But Colby Johnson lost the handle when he went to throw to second, then overthrew the first baseman.

Alex Kennedy stepped up and knocked in two runs with a single to tie the game at 2.

The top of the seventh was worse for the Rebels.

With one out, Corey Rice reached first on a dropped third strike, followed by a single.

Roby was replaced by Johnson with a 2-0 count to Schubert, and Schubert drew a walk to load the bases.

Smith sent a bouncer back to Johnson, who looked second before realizing there was a force at home and a potential 1-2-3 doubleplay to be had.

The Rebels got the second out on the play at home, but Shingleton then could not handle a bouncer at third that would have given the Rebels a third out on the force, allowing Anderson to score and give the Cougars a 3-2 lead.

Salt was rubbed into the wound when Kennedy hit a low liner to first baseman Chase Eichelberger, the ball going through his legs and allowing Schubert and Smith to score.

“I don’t know if some people got caught up in the moment,” Swisher said. “There were some players not normally in their position.”

Johnson had two of South’s hits in a suddenly punchless lineup.

“We find ways to scratch out wins at times,” Franklin said. “(Zack) has brought some class to the South dugout. Every time here South is a tough game.”

Anderson had two of Catoctin’s six hits.

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