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Pickoff picks up South Mountain in district final

July 21, 2000|By MIKE SIRBAUGH

Pickoff picks up South Mountain in district final



BOONSBORO - It was the kind of contest that should be reserved for a title game. Two good pitchers on the mound, a one-run ballgame and the last pitch resulting in a strikeout.

In the end, South Mountain played its way into the record books with a 4-3 win over Conococheague to advance to the next weekend's state tournament.

According to District I Administrator Debbie Everts, this is the first time that any Little League in the district has won both the 9-10 year-old tournament and the 11-12 year-old tournament in the same year.

Jeremiah Mills got the win for South Mountain, striking out 10 and allowing only two earned runs on five hits.

Philip Jordan struck out five and allowed two earned runs on only four hits for Conococheague, but both teams took advantage of the meager opportunities the two hurlers permitted.

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Conococheague broke through first in the second inning when catcher Corey Itnyre doubled down the left field line. Courtesy runner Sonny Hines took third on a wild pitch and came home on Tyler Beard's two-out screamer down the third base line.

Conococheague threatened again in the third with the leadoff batter reaching on a walk. South Mountain catcher Kyle Kane got a signal from manager Bill Flook to throw down to first, where Kane caught the runner with too big of a lead and gunned him down with a perfect throw.

"That was a case of Kyle being at the right place at the right time," said Flook. "I felt we had to make something happen and, my goodness, what a momentum-changer that was."

"Our whole team got a little down after they scored, but the pickoff play changed that and we started getting people on base," Mills said.

South Mountain took its newfound enthusiasm into the bottom of the inning and scored two runs on its first two hits.

Andy Brabson lined a one-out single and Mills followed that with a walk. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Aaron Dixon's single to left.

Kevin Davis doubled for Conococheague in the fourth and, two batters later, came scampering home when a wild throw got by the first baseman, tying the game.

South Mountain again grouped two hits to score two runs in its half of the fifth inning. Mills led off with a swinging-bunt single and Dixon worked a base on balls.

Cameron Shifler grounded to short and Mills scored when the relay throw home went out of play. Kane followed with a single to right, scoring Dixon.

But Conococheague hung in as Davis drilled his second two-bagger of the game off the base of the centerfield fence and moved around to score on a couple of groundouts. But then Mills reached back once more to record a strikeout and a complete-game victory.

"I was pretty confident in the last inning," Mills said. "When the third run scored, I was thinking, 'We still have one more sun so we're still in it.'"

"Our pitching has carried us all tournament long," Flook said. "Jeremiah was a little shaky in the first few innings but he came along fine and did what he had to win the ballgame."

South Mountain plays the District II winner at Perryville next Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

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