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By The Tribune-Review
Monday, July 10, 2006

Normally, one key play at the plate is enough to decide a baseball game.

Not when East Hempfield and West Hempfield Post 53 met in the opening game of the District 31 South/East Divisional playoffs. The two teams combined to throw out five runners at the plate, as defending district champion West Hempfield (13-7) eked out a 2-1 win over East Hempfield (13-6-1) to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three series.

"I mentioned that to the players in the huddle that I've never seen five runners thrown out at the plate," West Hempfield coach Bob Stokes said. "We had two runners thrown out at the plate on one play, and they were both perfect throws, and it was well-executed defense."

Those two runners in the third inning, however, were the only ones for West Hempfield. East Hempfield had runners gunned down in the first, fifth and sixth innings, which directly resulted in forcing a must-win game when the two teams meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"Both teams got aggressive in times of need, and the outfielders made the plays, no doubt about it," East Hempfield coach Scott Smith said. "In most game situations, coaches are going to challenge that throw, and the throw has to be on the money for that throw to come in favor of the defense, and every time they were perfect throws, and the catchers did perfect jobs."