North Harford's 4-run rally in 6th defeats Fallston, 6-5

Bases-loaded single is key to No. 11 Hawks' comeback


March 25, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Even with his team trailing by three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, North Harford baseball coach Tim Larrimore had witnessed enough wild games against Fallston to believe that things were far from over.

And Larrimore's intuition was right as the 11th-ranked and host Hawks scored four runs in the sixth inning to beat No. 6 Fallston, 6-5, in both teams' Chesapeake Division of the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference opener.

"I just had a feeling something would happen," Larrimore said. "We were hitting the ball hard all game and I knew something would eventually get through."

Shortstop J.T. Maguire's single up the middle with the bases loaded and none out in the sixth got past the center fielder, brought home three runs and tied the game. Catcher Jason Stifler's RBI groundout scored Maguire with the winning run.

The Hawks' Josh Schell, who relieved starter Jake Brown and allowed two earned runs over the final three innings to get the win in relief, retired the Cougars (1-1) in order in the top of the seventh.

This was the third game in the past five meetings between the teams decided by one run. Fallston's two victories over the Hawks last year paved the way for the Cougars to win the Harford County title.

"Last year, we felt we should have had both games," said Maguire, who was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs. "We have blocked everything out from last year, but it feels good to get this one."

For much of the early innings, Fallston appeared to be on the verge of breaking the game open against North Harford (1-0).

Junior Andrew Tress slammed a triple into the right- center-field gap, scoring Dan Przybylski and Eric Reedy to stake the Cougars to a 2-0 lead in third inning.

The Cougars' advantage was 5-2 in the top of the sixth when Reedy connected for his second triple - the Cougars' fifth - to bring home Fred Dimpfel.

Fallston starter Ryan Kent gave up two runs, scattering five hits and four walks, but he gave way to Chris Merrick to start the sixth.

Schell reached on a throwing error, and after right fielder Kevin Jubb singled and Nick Scott walked, Maguire's single, which got by Dimpfel in center field, cleared the bases.

Justin Quinn walked, and two straight groundouts - by Scott Galbreath and Stifler - off Fallston reliever Brandon Hart, gave the Hawks the 6-5 lead.

"They had only one hit in that inning, but we made a key error to put the leadoff man on and then we walked a couple of guys," said Fallston coach Mark Puckett. "That was a typical big inning."

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