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West End easily advances

July 12, 2002|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Kyle Beers' first-inning grand slam was the loudest hit. Chris Jackson didn't allow any hits at all.

From start to finish, the West End Little League 11-12 All-Stars dominated in every fashion, as Beer's slam and Jackson's no-hitter were the storylines in a 12-0 victory over two-time defending District 1 champion South Mountain in a winners' bracket semifinal on Thursday.

"The first inning told the story of the game," South Mountain manager Terry Hartle said.

West End wasted no time. Henry Fitzgerald singled on the game's first pitch, Jackson walked and Tim Leather singled before Beers crushed the first pitch he saw over the right field fence.

"I was thinking fastball," said Beers, who finished 3-for-3 with a walk. "He threw me a change-up and I read it. I didn't think it would stay in (the park)."

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The four runs were more than enough for Jackson, who stands an unintimidating 4-foot-4, but had South Mountain's number all night.

The right-hander struck out eight while walking four. He had hitters swinging late on the high fastball and early on the curve.

"I tried to concentrate on hitting the glove, working the corners and setting up the curve," Jackson said.

South Mountain hung tough until the sixth, when West End blew it open, sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring eight runs on six hits. Jackson and Beers had RBI singles, Jodi McElroy hit a two-run double and J.J. O'Neill finished a 4-for-4 night with a three-run homer.

Then the spotlight fell on Jackson. After forcing a groundout, Paul Merson hit a grounder into the hole that the shortstop could not come up with. The play was ruled an error.

Jackson struck out Adam Chambers, then got Tyler Fath to ground out to third to end the game and finish his no-hitter.

"He pitched a beautiful ballgame, no ifs, ands or buts," Hartle said. "The boy has heart, and that's all it takes in this game. He deserved the no-hitter."

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