Taylor-made win

July 21, 1999

  • Conococheague rallies for spot in final
  • Championship: Today, 6, Conococheague at Halfway

Conococheague winsBy DAN SPEARS / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Conococheague Little League's Andy Taylor probably has no idea who his namesake on "The Andy Griffith Show" was.

But Wednesday night in the loser's bracket final of the District 1 11-12-year-old tournament, he laid down the law on American Little League.

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Taylor threw 3 2/3 innings of one-hit relief and drove in the winning run in the first extra inning as Conococheague rallied from two three-run deficits to beat American 10-6 at Paul Brandenburg Field.

"He's been a real succes story for us during the all-stars," Conococheague manager Andy Taylor said. "He's got a lot of confidence in himself, and the team really supports him well."


Conococheague wriggled out of the hole behind four home runs - three of them solo shots. Add in Jesse Gutekunst's grand slam for American, and it was a junior version of home run derby.

"All the kids out there can throw real hard, and if you can get a good swing on it, it's going to go," American manager Rick Keefer said. "When they're only solo shots, you don't get rattled, but when they're more than that ..."

Down 6-3 entering the sixth inning, Conococheague bashed for the final time. With one out, Kenny Singhas hit his second solo homer of the night for a 6-4 game. Gutekunst then got a strikeout to put American one out from the title game.

But Jeff Ragland singled to bring up Aerik Taylor, who had struck out on three pitches in both of his previous at-bats. He sent Gutekunst's first offering onto Mill Street to tie the game and liven up a sullen Conococheague bench.

"I had a pretty good feeling after that," the younger Andy Taylor said. "When we lost in the first round, everybody was a little down. But the coaches told us just to play our hardest and things will work."

Taylor retired American in order in the sixth, and after Josh Bowers tripled to open the seventh, Taylor drove him in with a high-hop single to left. A hit, two fielder's choices, two errors and a wild pitch later, it was 10-6.

"It's really hard to believe," manager Andy Taylor said. "They've come from behind before, but ... We just said to go out and win one for yourself. We knew they had it in them."

And it saved Conococheague from losing a game in which they only gave up two hits.

"We played real well," Keefer said. "We just got tired, and they just kept hitting the ball. ... We played the same kind of game against Oakland and won it with a homer in the last at-bat. The kids thought they could do it again tonight."

But when American needed a home run most, Taylor and Conococheague never it them have one.

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