HAGERSTOWN — Less than 24 hours after his team scored 31 runs in a doubleheader sweep, Hagerstown Community College coach Scott Jennings was worried about a possible letdown.
While the Hawks (28-9, 11-4) managed only six hits on Wednesday, smart base running and timely hitting was key as HCC avenged a loss earlier in the season with a 7-5 victory over Maryland JUCO foe Allegany.
"I was scared coming in based on how we hit last night," said Jennings. "Last night we scored 31 runs on 29 hits and a lot of times in baseball you'll see a team have a really big day and then the next day they can't buy a hit.
"We didn't hit great today, but we had productive outs. We hit when we needed to, had some two-out hits and I saw a lot of good things today."
After a scoreless top half of the first, Smith singled with one out and then stole second to get things going. Smith moved to third on a fielder's choice and then scored on a two-out error.
The Hawks added two more runs in the second inning as Shoop ripped a two-out double down the left-field line to score Garrett Spinks and Brandon Toloso. In the third, Matt Kline singled to start the inning, stole second and later scored on a RBI groundout from Geraghty Showe to make it 4-0.
"I think it's always important to get out to an early lead like that," said Jennings. "It gives our pitchers some breathing room. They know every pitch doesn't have to be perfect and defensively they can relax knowing there isn't pressure on every ball in play."
The early lead proved helpful for HCC starter Kenny Daniels, who went through the first four innings with relative ease with the Hawks defense collecting 10 of the 12 outs behind him.
"I got a lot of help from defense today," said Daniels. "We tried to go inside a lot with the fastball and jam them and get them to pop it up. I wasn't striking people out like I usually do so, but the guys were solid behind me."
In the fifth inning, Allegany (15-10, 5-8) got on the scoreboard with two runs. Nick Keaton singled with one out and Anthony Zorne and Dan Fry followed with back-to-back doubles to make it 4-2.
The Hawks got a run back in the bottom half as Smith led off with a single, stole second and third and scored on an error.
"I like to jump on the first-pitch fastball if it's there and it was for my two hits," said Smith. "From there I just tried to move up on the bases and try to manufacture some runs."
Both teams picked up a run in the sixth, Chandler Mays scored on a passed ball for Allegany while Jason Paredes scored on a wild pitch for HCC to make it 6-3.
The Trojans tagged Daniels for two runs in the seventh as Samuel Plafcan doubled to score Keaton and Zorne.
HCC once again found an answer in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Smith reached on a walk, stole second and came into score on a Quin Ambeault single to make it 7-5.
"Base running has been really important for us," said Smith. "When we move up early in the count it give who ever is batting the chance to drive us."
Nick Stegman came in to close out the game in the ninth.
Following back-to-back singles by Keaton and Zorne, Stegman got a fielder's choice and then back-to-back punchouts to pick up his first save on the year. Daniels (4-2) picked up the win, going seven innings and allowing five runs (four earned) on 10 hits and two walks while striking out five.
"Kenny Daniels did a good job at keeping us in the game," said Jennings. "He ran out of gas in the seventh, but he got through seven. After the doubleheader it was important that we got length out of Kenny and then Colby Smith and Nick Stegman did a good job in relief the last two innings."
For the Hawks, the win was big after losing to Allegany 14-4 three weeks ago.
"We knew coming in what the score was last time," said Smith. "We knew that wasn't who we were and we really wanted to come back and get this one at home."
"It's nice to know that we weren't as bad as the first time we played them," said Jennings. "We looked bad that day, they did the job that day and we didn't. We were a lot better today than we showed then."