Liberty ekes out victory against Linganore, 3-2

6th-inning wake-up call, 7th-inning rally lift Lions


April 19, 2001|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Liberty baseball coach Erik Barnes needed to do something to shake up his team with time running out against Linganore in Eldersburg yesterday.

The Lions (4-2), who eventually rallied in the bottom of the seventh on two singles and three walks to snatch a 3-2 victory, had no hits and no runs through five innings and trailed the Lancers (4-5) by one unearned run.

So on the cold, windy day, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Barnes ordered everyone to take off his warm-up jacket except starting pitcher Anthony Desimone, who was wearing wool gloves and a wool hat between innings.

"The only way you're going to stay warm is with your mouths," Barnes disgustedly told the Lions, upset by their lack of hitting and lack of supportive chatter.

The ploy worked. With his teammates now loudly cheering him on, leadoff batter Dustin Lippert singled through the hole into left field, ending the no-hitter by Linganore starter Doug Gillis. The next batter, Jim Miller, bunted perfectly down the first-base line for a single, but Lippert was caught rounding second base too far by alert Linganore first baseman Jeremy Kennedy, a blunder that nearly cost the Lions the game.

Liberty tied the game that inning, 1-1, on a two-out single by Alex Moore. A walk to John Bruce and an error loaded the bases, but Gillis retired Andrew Simpson on a hard-hit fly to right field for the final out.

Desimone, who allowed five hits, gave up back-to-back doubles in the seventh inning, and Linganore went ahead again, 2-1.

"I just put a pitch in a bad spot and the kid hit a bomb," said Desimone, who picked up his first varsity victory. "Linganore is a real good team that plays good defense and puts the ball in play."

Gillis appeared ready to finish off the Lions. He retired the first batter in the seventh and had two strikes on Josh Talley who was batting No. 8 in the Liberty lineup. Talley punched a single up the middle, however, keeping Liberty's hopes alive. Lippert followed with his second single of the game -- a slice to right field.

That's when Linganore coach Matt Byrd relieved Gillis with Kennedy, a left-hander. Kennedy had no control, twice hitting the backstop. With pitches not even close to strikes, he walked Miller to load the bases, and then walked Kevin Magaw to force in the tying run. When his first two pitches to Moore were also balls, Byrd went to his bullpen again -- with similar results. Two more balls and the winning run.

It was preseason favorite Liberty's fourth straight win after opening the season with two losses.

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