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Bridgeport bumps Liberty from AA sectional

by Charles Casey

CORRESPONDENT

BRIDGEPORT -- Bridgeport pounded out 11 hits for a 10-2 victory over Liberty in Class AA, Region II Section 1 high school baseball play Thursday.

The Class AA No. 6 Indians (20-10) now faces No. 3 Lincoln (23-2) in the sectional title game this afternoon at Lincoln High School. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m.

Bridgeport has to beat the Cougars twice in order to win the sectional title.

"I am very happy with the victory, and we live another day," Bridgeport coach Robert Shields said. "We have advanced on with a tough task in beating Lincoln twice, but I think the kids will be ready."

Things didn't start out very well for the Indians as starter Andrew Spatafore had all sorts of problems throwing strikes as he walked four batters in the first inning to allow Liberty to take a 1-0 lead without even getting a hit.

But, the Mountaineers (7-21) left the bases loaded and that was an occuring theme all day as they stranded 12 base runners in the game.

"We couldn't get the right hit at the right time, but I wouldn't trade this group of kids for anything," Liberty coach Pete Iquinto said. "They hustled and battled all year and we have everybody back next year and looking for a big year."

Bridgeport rallied in the bottom of the first inning to score four runs on two hits with most of them coming on one swing of the bat.

Brandon Brumage walked and scored on a Chris Enourato RBI double to left center. Aaron Gallagher walked to put runners on first and second before Spatafore blasted a three-run home run over the left field fence for a 4-1 Indians lead.

"That first inning was very good for us because we were down and Andrew came up with a big hit to get us going," Shields said.

Spatafore led Bridgeport's 11-hit attack by going 3-for-4 with a home run and 3 RBIs. Enourato followed by going 2-for-3 with a double and a RBI.

The Indians increased the lead to 7-2 with three runs in the third inning. Andy Isner had the big hit of the inning with a two-run single, while the other run scored on a double steal.

Billy Milnes, the third Bridgeport pitcher, tossed four and two-thirds innings of shut out baseball to get the win. He gave up five hits, while striking out six.

Rusty Roberts went 2-for-3 to lead the Mountaineers at the plate.