Doubleheader win helps Rams clinch tournament spot

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Two days. Just 48 hours. Doesn’t seem like much time. For a pitcher it isn’t much time to recover from a performance that had lasted five innings or seven innings.

Two days rest was the time off Shepherd starting pitchers Paul Hvozdovic and Davis Hall had when the Rams faced the WVIAC’s South Division leader, West Virginia State, last week.

Shepherd’s Ryan Messina is greeted after his home run by Kyle Porter. The Rams finished second in the North Division of the WVIAC.

Shepherd’s Ryan Messina is greeted after his home run by Kyle Porter. The Rams finished second in the North Division of the WVIAC.

Both Hvozdovic and Hall have received a handful of starts this season with two days rest. And they have fared well enough with Hvozdovic getting his ninth win and Hall his seventh when each was effective in Shepherd’s 10-1 and 12-2 wins over Cal Bailey’s Yellow Jackets at Fairfax Field.

The conference doubleheader was the last home field appearance for the Rams this year. The raucous sweep boosted Shepherd’s record to 20-8 in the WVIAC, keeping it in second place in the North Division behind Seton Hill and clinching a spot in the conference tournament this week.

The winning performances of Hvozdovic and Hall coming off such a short recovery time might have reminded old timers of the 1964 pennant chase in the National League.

Philadelphia and manager Gene Mauch had a 6.5 game lead with only 12 games to play. But the Phillies began to lose. Even though they were at home in Shibe Park, they couldn’t stop losing so Mauch started using starting pitchers Jim Bunning and Chris Short on just two days rest.

The Pholding Phillies lost seven straight at home and went on the road and lost three straight to St. Louis. The Cardinals won the pennant and then tamed the Yankees in the World Series.

Two days rest.

Hvozdovic protected a 2-1 lead after three innings of the 10-1 win. Michael Lott’s two-RBI double gave him a 4-1 lead after four. And then the Rams used five hits, including Brandon Coffey’s two-RBI single, to take a 9-1 lead after five.

Tyler Thomas replaced Hvozdovic and had two scoreless innings to close out the vital win.

Lott had gone 4-for-5 with four RBIs and Ryan Messina had hit his 12th homer of the season. Bryan DiRosario went 2-for-2 and scored twice.

In Hall’s win, Shepherd trailed, 2-0, when it batted for the first time. Four hits and RBIs from Chad Murphy, Messina and DiRosario gave the Rams a 4-2 lead.

Hall then baffled the Yellow Jackets with curveball and fastball strikes as he retired 10 of the next 11 men he saw. And Shepherd kept scoring, adding two runs in four straight turns.

When Hall was replaced after his five innings, he left with a 12-2 lead. It was Thomas who completed the game with another two scoreless innings.

DiRosario (who homered) and Murphy (who was 3-for-3) each had three RBIs.

The Rams had clinched a conference tournament spot.

And they had done it behind two pitchers who had won with two days rest.

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