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Delays, Elkton rain on National parade

July 24, 1999|By DAN KAUFFMAN

BOONSBORO - At 6 p.m. Saturday, Elkton's Corey Sadler took the first pitch of the 9-10 Maryland North Region best-of-three series from National starter Marcellus Sumlin.

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Three and a half hours, three weather delays, eight pitchers and eight innings later, it was Sadler whose RBI single in the top of the eighth inning gave Elkton a 5-4 victory and a 1-0 series lead over National at South Mountain Little League.

"They've done that since the opening game of our (District 5 tournament). ... They're just great kids, they don't know how to lose," Elkton manager Alan Foskey said.

Sadler's heroics came after No. 9 hitter Matt Dennis walked and advanced to second and third on wild pitches.

Sadler, who started the game on the mound, then ripped a pitch into right field, scoring Dennis with the winning run.

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"The last couple of weeks, he's been doing it steady," Foskey said. "(He) pitched a great game for us, came back, got the base hit."

Elkton's defense made the run hold up in the bottom of the inning. With runners on first and second and one out for National, Elkton shortstop Shane Chester lunged to his right to snare a line drive, robbing Brock Jamison of a possible game-tying hit.

"Defense is the key, you got to play defense, and we hadn't been doing that lately, but tonight, (we) came up with some key defensive plays," Foskey said.

A walk to Sumlin loaded the bases with two outs, but Shane Fischer, Elkton's fifth pitcher of the game, got a ground ball forceout at second to close the game.

With the score 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh, National had a chance to win the game with runners on first and second with two outs. But a ground ball forceout at third ended the chance.

"The pitching that we faced tonight is the same pitching that we've been clobbering," National manager Steve Cromer said. "Tonight, we just didn't hit the ball, and that's what it amounted to."

National jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first on Christian Selby's two-run single, and led 3-1 after two. But Elkton scored twice in the fourth to tie the game at 3-3.

National took a 4-3 lead in the fifth on an three-base error, but gave it back to Elkton in the sixth with its own error.

"It was a mental attitude tonight," Cromer said. "The kids really didn't start playing baseball until the fifth inning, and that was too late."

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