Little big man

Chris Jackson settles after rough first inning to lead West End to an unbeaten run through the District 1 tournament

Chris Jackson settles after rough first inning to lead West End to an unbeaten run through the District 1 tournament

July 18, 2002|by JACK HILL III

At just 4 feet, 4 inches tall, West End's Chris Jackson cast an awfully long shadow from the pitcher's mound Wednesday night.

Jackson scattered six hits and struck out eight to lead West End over South Mountain 5-3 in the championship game of the Maryland District 1 11-12 Little League baseball tournament.

Jackson struggled in the top of the first inning, giving up three runs to South Mountain, which worked its way through the losers' bracket after losing to West End six days ago.

"In the first inning, my curve ball wasn't working," Jackson said. "But I kept my head up. My curve ball then worked for the rest of the game. Henry Fitzgerald helped me out with a few good defensive plays in center field."


West End manager Wink Suder was proud of Jackson's pitching performance.

"Chris Jackson got off to a slow start with his pitching," Suder said. "I told him to throw harder and don't worry about it. I told him, 'They got three runs, but we'll get you 10'. It turned out that I was half right."

West End went undefeated in the district and advances to the Maryland State Tournament in Charles County. The District 1 champs open play Saturday at 11 a.m. against the District 4 winner in Hughesville.

"We're just happy to be in the state tournament," Suder added. "We just hope that we can represent District 1 Little League well."

Jackson helped himself out with two hits. Fitzgerald got two hits and scored two runs, while J.J. O'Neill added two hits for West End.

Tyler Fath and Paul Merson had two hits each for South Mountain.

"All of our players really hustled and busted their tails all year long," South Mountain manager Terry Hartle said. "We came through the losers' bracket and made it to the championship game. We deserved to be where we were at."

After South Mountain scored three runs in the top of the first inning, West End began to chip away with a run in the bottom half of the inning when Tim Leather blasted a solo homer to right.

West End took advantage of three South Mountain errors in the third to score three runs and take the lead for good at 4-3.

West End got its final run in the fourth on another South Mountain error.

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