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Halfway deficit too big

August 05, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

ARBUTUS, Md. - The only thing halfway about the Halfway Little League All-Stars were the names on the front of their jerseys.

It played all-or-nothing baseball to get to the losers' bracket final of the Maryland State Tournament. And Halfway put it all on the line in the sixth inning on Wednesday against Arbutus. It came away with nothing ... but not without the help of some circumstances out of its control.

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Halfway scored two runs in the sixth and had the bases loaded with none out until Arbutus got three outs on one pitch to survive with a 4-3 victory and advance to the tournament championship.

And all that was left for Halfway to wonder what could have been.

"It was a shame we had our big hitter up with no one on," Halfway coach Bob Weaver said. "But it got us started. We got the bases loaded and we were in great shape. The next kid gets the bat on the ball to give us runners on first and third, then...."

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Then, then was a four-letter word.

Halfway gave up four runs in the first inning and was forced into comeback mode for the entire game. It scored a run in the fourth and set the table for the sixth.

Nick Adenhart hit a high drive off Arbutus pitcher Neal Davis to dead center field to open the inning and cut the lead. Pinch hitter Andy Murray and Jimmy Sutch each singled and advanced when Brian Everitts laid down a bunt single that Arbutus couldn't corral.

With bases loaded and none out, the game turned Halfway's way.

Then, there was no way.

Matt Sweigert stroked a fly to the right center field gap that right fielder Matt Clevenger caught while colliding with center fielder Shawn Maczka for a sacrifice fly, scoring Murray and advancing Sutch to third.

After the play, Davis appealed to second base, saying Sutch left the base too soon. The second base umpire, who had been in the outfield watching the catch-collision play, called Sutch out.

Halfway went from runners on first and third with one out to a runner on first with two outs. After order was restored, Davis turned to appeal Murray's move off third base, but as he made his throw to third, Everitts broke for second base, trying to startle Arbutus' defense.

Instead, Everitts was caught in a rundown and tagged out to end the rally, the game and the tournament for Halfway.

"There is really nothing to say," Weaver said. "We lost. We had a bad first inning but then (starter David Warrenfeltz) settled down. We gave up four runs in the first. We haven't scored four runs the whole tournament."

Arbutus, which will play Denton for the state title, got to Warrenfeltz in the first with four of the first five batters reaching base on hits. After David Grebe and Maczka each singled, Eddie Kline stroked a two-run double down the left-field line. One out later, Eric Krug drove a 3-2 pitch over the right field fence for a two-run homer and a 4-0 lead.

Halfway got one run back in the third when Adenhart grounded a two-out single to left with the bases loaded for an RBI.

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