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American wins with dramatic flair

July 15, 1999|By JACK HILL III

J.J. Myers belted a game-winning, two-run homer over the left field fence to give the American Little League All-Stars a dramatic 7-5 victory over Oakland in the winner's bracket semifinals of the Maryland District 1 11-12-year-old Tournament.

"J.J. Myers has come through all year long," American manager Rick Keefer said. "He is the purest hitter that I have ever had on any team. He just put the bat on the ball and it got out of here."

Charlie Kline started American's winning rally by drawing a walk with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning. Myers then homered to clinch the win for American.

"I am just filled with happiness and excitement," Myers said. "I was just trying to get a hit. When I saw that ball go up in the air, I was thinking, 'Get out of here.' Our defense was there when we needed it and our offense was also there. It's our motto: 'Refuse to lose.'"

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American was trailing 4-0 when it came to life with four runs in the bottom of the third inning to tie the game.

Kline led off the inning with a walk and moved to third when winning pitcher Jesse Gutekunst reached on a two-base fielding error. Ross Pedersen and Justin Marshall drew walks to bring Kline home with the first run. Bryan Newhouse reached on a fielder's choice where Gutekunst was forced out at the plate.

Jeremiah Twigg followed with a two-run single to right to cut the lead down to one run. American then executed a successful double steal, with Newhouse coming home to tie the score.

Leroy Dodson scored on a fielder's choice to give American a 5-4 lead in the fourth.

Oakland tied the score at 5-5 in the top of the sixth on Matt Skidmore's RBI single.

Gutekunst gave up only three earned runs and two walks, while striking out seven batters, in six innings to get the win.

Twigg and Dodson led American with two hits each.

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