The Hagerstown Tigers got off to a poor start in their opening round game Wednesday against longtime rival Union County.
The normally sure-handed Tiger defense committed four errors in the first two innings, helping the Patriots to a 4-1 lead entering the bottom of the second. But Hagerstown settled down quickly, tied the game at 4-4 and finished strong.
The Tigers took the lead for good in the bottom of the third and capped off with two sixth-inning home runs, eliminating Union County by the score of 10-4.
The Patriots opened the game by scoring two runs in their first at bat. Devyn Shepherd drew a walk to open the game and Grady Swafford followed with a bunt single. Fueled by throwing and fielding errors, both eventually scored to give the Patriots a 2-0 lead.
The Tigers got one run back in the bottom of the inning. Collin Beaty drew a two-out walk. Courtesy runner Anthony Kelley replaced Beaty, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and later scored because of an error.
The Patriots cranked up their offense in the top of the second inning. Logan Boone stroked a one-out double to get things started. After a routine ground out, Swafford hammered a ball to deep left field that hit the top of the fence and bounced into the parking lot for a home run. It turned out to be the last hit for the Patriots until Swafford singled in the seventh.
The Tigers tied the game in the bottom of the second inning and took the lead for good in the bottom of the third. Will Combs opened the second by drawing a walk. Quaid Mull drew a walk to join him on base and Ethan Campbell reached on an error, to load the bases. All three eventually scored. Gavin Walter and Ben Williams drove in runs to tie the game at 4-4.
Two more runs in the bottom of the third inning sent the Tigers ahead for good. Combs and Campbell both drew walks and after advancing on a wild pitch, both eventually scored on a single from Ben Williams.
Still holding a 6-4 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning the Tigers tacked on four more runs. Kayne Ervin supplied a one-out single, stole second, moved to third on a Beaty single and scored on a wild pitch. Cole Tracy followed with a two-run home-run over the left field fence. One out later Will Combs hit a monster home run out of the deepest part of centerfield.
With the win the Tigers moved to a semi-final match-up with Northeastern. The Tigers may be without Head Coach Jay Hale by IHSAA rule. Hale was ejected in the third inning for arguing a call at home plate.
Union County (12-10)
2 2 0 0 0 0 0 4
Hagerstown (15-9)
1 3 2 0 0 4 x 10
Union County Hits: Boone, Swafford (3)
Hagerstown Hits: Beaty, Combs, Ervin (2), Tracy, Walter, Williams (2)
Winning pitcher: Reed Shaffer; Losing pitcher: Kyle Sams

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