South Mountain makes good on final try

July 12, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

BOONSBORO - In capitalizing on the most important opportunity it had Friday evening, South Mountain Little League's 11 & 12 All-Stars laid several missed chances to rest.

Meanwhile, Halfway Little League wondered how it left the big one get away.

Despite stranding 11 runners on base in the first five innings - including eight in scoring position - South Mountain used two hits, four walks and a crucial error to score four runs in the sixth for a 6-3 victory over Halfway in the District 1 Tournament losers' bracket final.

"I told them third place is worse than second place, and second place (stinks)," South Mountain manager Terry Hartle said. "To get (the win), you have to want it more than they do."


"It was disappointing," Halfway manager Sean Cline said. "We faced a good team, they stepped up when they had to, and we couldn't hold on."

South Mountain travels to Sharpsburg today at 6 p.m. for the District championship. If South Mountain wins, both teams will have one loss in the double-elimination tournament and a final game would be played Monday at South Mountain at 6.

Halfway took a 2-0 lead in the first when Andrew Duff singled and later scored on Joe Miller's double over the center fielder's head. Josh Cline's line-drive single to the fence scored Miller.

Halfway added another run in the second when Dylan Zimmerman doubled to center and scored on Aaron Stotelmyer's single.

Kyle Stone got out of a two-on, no-out jam in the first and a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second without allowing a run. After allowing a run in the third, Stone got out of another bases-loaded jam.

But South Mountain made its final chance count.

Cody Linton started South Mountain's sixth-inning rally with a one-out bloop single to right off Stone, who then walked Adam Chambers on his 110th pitch and was replaced by Zach Malphrus. Malphrus walked Tyler Walsh to load the bases before getting the second out of the inning on a strikeout.

With South Mountain down to its final strike, David Lewis grounded an 0-2 pitch hard to Duff at short, who bobbled the ball momentarily, then made a backhand toss to third baseman Josh Cline to try to force Chambers for the final out. Chambers was safe and Linton scored the crucial tying run as the ball hit the ground.

"It's like a big weight was lifted off our shoulders and momentum shifted," Hartle said. "You could see relief in the kids' faces."

Malphrus walked the next two batters to force in two more runs before being pulled, and Adam Collins' RBI single off Stotelmyer scored South Mountain's final run.

"(Malphrus) has come into two games for us and shut the door," Cline said, "but it's a tough situation. I was nervous, so I know he had to be. ... (They're) upset, disappointed. They thought they had a real good shot to win, but the bounces didn't go their way."

John Shobe finished off his second complete-game victory in three games by striking out the final two Halfway batters.

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