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American's bats come to life at last

July 10, 2003|by JOSH BOND/Staff Correspondent

Throughout the Maryland District 1 11 & 12 All-Star Tournament, American Little League had struggled to produce runs or even get hits.

Wednesday night, American welcomed Frostburg to town and waved goodbye to their struggles, pounding out 12 hits in a 15-5 win in a losers' bracket game at Paul Brandenburg Field.

American will play at Halfway tonight at 6 p.m. in the losers' bracket semifinal.

"I stressed to the kids before the game the importance of making contact with the ball and putting some runs on the board," said American coach Erik Kline.

Two players that took his advice to heart were Eric Campbell and Demetrius Stubbs. Campbell went 3-for-4 with five RBI, including a three-run homer in a seven-run first inning. Stubbs' line was no less impressive, going 4-for-4 with five RBI, including a grand slam.

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Stubbs' slam came at the perfect time for American. Frostburg had cut its deficit to 7-5 in the top of the fourth inning before Stubbs' momentum-changing blast in the bottom of the inning. American tacked on two more runs for a 13-5 lead through four.

Robert Warwick and Gerald Tonsil added RBI singles in the fifth inning as American ended the game by the 10-run rule.

"The game came down to the first and fourth innings," said Frostburg coach Keith Eshleman. "Take those two innings out and it's a brand new baseball game."

American also took advantage of three Frostburg errors and numerous wild pitches and passed balls.

"You can't win if you don't play with good fundamentals, and tonight we didn't play with good fundamentals," Eshleman said.

American's pitching was as solid as the offense. Stubbs pitched the first inning, allowing only one hit and an unearned run, before giving way to Tyler Ernde to start the second. Ernde surrendered four runs on five hits the rest of the way.

"Our pitching had been solid all tournament," Kline said. "We just needed our offense to come around."

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