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Howard County Times
Howard County Sports

Reservoir baseball outlasts Centennial in 13 innings

As the coach of a young, rebuilding team, Reservoir's Adam Leader knows that the best way to get up to speed is through game experience. But he could have never predicted just how much experience his Gators would get in the first month of the 2016 season.

After Wednesday's 13-inning, 3-1 win at Centennial, Reservoir (5-4) has now gone to extra innings in four of its last six games, winning three of them.

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"A bunch of guys are getting a lot of looks in a lot of different situations that you don't usually get," said Leader, who earned his 200th career win last Friday in extra innings against Howard. "You've got to battle through those ups and downs, in baseball there is a lot of that ... our guys could have easily rolled over and played dead, but they kept their heads up and kept battling."

Excellent pitching and defense is usually a factor in an extra inning game, and Wednesday was no different. Centennial lefty Connor Atkins (2 H, 1 BB, 5 K) and Reservoir righty Max Goron (2 H, 1 BB, 9 K) dueled through seven scoreless innings, with neither team getting a runner past second base.

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In the eighth, Alex Crocamo took the mound for the Eagles (4-5) while Eric Niederhauser came on in relief for the Gators. Reservoir threatened to score in the eighth when third baseman Arush Gupta hit a leadoff double into the gap, followed by a bunt single by designated hitter Kevin Harrington, who then stole second base. But after a comebacker to the mound, Centennial got out of the jam by thwarting Reservoir's attempt at a squeeze play when catcher Nick Varner tagged the runner at home after a missed bunt, then fired to third to catch the runner from second for the final out of the inning.

Centennial also got something going in the bottom of the eighth, when Matt Ritchie hit a one-out single up the middle. But the inning ended when Kyle Fehr made a diving catch in right field then fired to first for an inning ending double play.

The scoring drought finally ended in the 10th inning, when Fehr led off with a single, stole second, advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Niederhauser to deep center field.

Niederhauser then retired the first two Centennial batters in the bottom of the 10th, but the Eagles refused to go quietly.

Jake Watson started the rally with a single through the infield, then Crocamo fought back from a two-strike count to launch a double to deep left field that allowed Watson to score the tying run all the way from first.

"It was a great game. Centennial's guys battled just as much as we did," Leader said. "It's fun when you're battling and it's a good baseball game."

Crocamo then shut the Gators down in order in the 11th and 12th, while Centennial put runners on in each of the next two innings, on singles by Glenn Stratton (3-for-5) and Justin Reese.

Things finally unraveled for the Eagles in the top of the 13th, though. After Niederhauser was hit by a pitch on an 0-2 count, Goron and Gupta both reached base safely on misplayed sacrifice bunt attempts, loading the bases with no outs. After a force out at home on a groundball, Victor LeBlanc hit a shallow pop fly. With the infield pulled in, no one had a play on it, allowing the go ahead run to score. An infield fly was ruled on the play for the second out, then No. 9 hitter Trevor Romaine hit a clean RBI single to left for the insurance run.

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Niederhauser then worked around a two-out walk in the 13th to earn the win, notching his fourth and fifth strikeouts.

"It was a hardfought game. We've been battling all year," he said. "We just told the guys not to fold, and then we just shut it down."

Re (5-4) 000 000 000 100 2 - 3 6 0

C (4-5) 000 000 000 100 0 - 1 8 3

Atkins, Crocamo (8) and Varner. Goron, Niederhauser (8) and del Tufo.

2B: Re — Gupta. C — Crocamo.

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Around the League

Long Reach 9, Glenelg 4

Marriotts Ridge 17, Atholton 1

River Hill 4, Mt. Hebron 3

Howard 7, Oakland Mills 6

Hammond 9, Wilde Lake 5

Glenelg Country 7, Severn 6 (MIAA B, April 19)

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League Standings (as of April 20)

Glenelg, 7-2

Howard, 7-2

River Hill, 7-2

Atholton, 5-4

Marriotts Ridge, 5-4

Mt. Hebron, 5-4

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Reservoir, 5-4

Centennial, 4-5

Long Reach, 4-5

Hammond, 3-6

Oakland Mills, 2-7

Wilde Lake, 0-9

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Glenelg Country, 5-3 (MIAA B)

Chapelgate, 4-3 (MIAA C)

Thursday, April 21 schedule
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Howard County Times: Top stories

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Daily highlights from Howard County's number one source for local news.

Atholton at River Hill

Glenelg at Marriotts Ridge

Hammond at Centennial

Howard at Wilde Lake

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Mt. Hebron at Long Reach

Reservoir at Oakland Mills

Chapelgate at Concordia (MIAA C)


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