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Error-prone Overlea falls to Hammond Baseball


Hammond High didn't exactly roll into the state Class 2A, Region II baseball championship game on a barrage of booming hits yesterday.

The third-seeded Bears needed just two bloop singles to manufacture six runs in the top of the seventh inning for a come-from-behind 9-4 victory over second-seeded Overlea in the semifinal at Overlea.

Hammond will meet fourth-seeded Hereford this morning at 9:15 at Dundalk Community College in the title game. Hereford upset top-seeded Patapsco, 3-1, yesterday in the other semifinal.

Hammond (13-5) was two outs from extinction when the Bears began the six-run rally that wiped out a 4-3 Overlea lead.

The Falcons (13-4) made six errors in the seventh that gift-wrapped six unearned runs for Hammond.

A seeing-eye, one-out single to center by Rob Laing began the Hammond rally and a bloop single to center by Mike Kaplan came near the end of the game-breaking surge.

In the middle of those two hits, the Overlea infield threw the ball all over the place and right fielder Casey Cowan made a throwing error that allowed the tying run to score.

Cowan threw the ball past third in an attempt to cut down courtesy runner John Yezek, who then scored to tie the game at 4.

Cowan's errant throw concluded a disastrous play for Overlea that began with first baseman Andy King committing an error on a hard-hit ground ball off the bat of Hammond's No. 9 hitter Jay Cannell.

That sequence seemed to take a lot of confidence out of Overlea, which had gone ahead, 4-3, in the fourth inning on a two-run double by Brandon Van Hoose.

"You name it, we did it wrong in the seventh inning," said Overlea coach Dave O'Neill. "And this wasn't a rookie group out on the field. Most of our players are seniors."

O'Neill stuck with starting pitcher Mark Truszkewski throughout mostof the seventh inning before Matt Trischman came on to get the final out.

"Mark didn't have one of his better games," said O'Neill. "But he deserved a better fate."

Hammond reliever Jeff Price pitched the final three innings and shut down Overlea to improve his record to 5-3.

"I threw mostly all knuckleballs and felt confident once I got through the fifth inning," said Price.

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