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Conococheague forces Game 3 in sectional

July 21, 2003|by CHRIS CARTER/Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - With the bitterness of being shut out by Thurmont still lingering from Saturday, the Conococheague 9 & 10 All-Stars wanted to wash out the bad taste with a surge of offense.

They did just that, scoring six runs in the bottom of the second inning en route to a 9-3 win at Ebersole Field, evening the best-of-3 Maryland section series at a game apiece.

Conococheague will host the section championship game today at 6 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Maryland State 9 & 10 Tournament.

"The kids didn't realize the importance in the first game, they came out playing flat," Conococheague manager Mike Iseminger said. "We came ready to play today and we hit the ball really well."

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Through one inning of play the score was knotted at 1-1. After holding Thurmont scoreless in the top of the second, Tyson Cline led off the bottom of the inning with what appeared to be a triple. The play was immediately appealed by Thurmont, which claimed that Cline had missed first base as he was legging out his triple. First base umpire Rich Ross upheld the appeal and Cline was ruled out.

Conococheague didn't let the call ruin its rally. Devon Byrd lined a single to left, followed by three straight walks to give Conococheague a 2-1 lead with the bases loaded. Conner Arnone singled in a run and Zachary Lucas walked to force in another for a 4-1 lead.

Andrew Moats and Nate Willis added RBI singles and Arnone scored on a passed ball to give Conococheague a 7-1 edge.

Starting pitcher Darryl Shirley took care of the rest. After giving up a run in the first, Shirley held Thurmont to three hits over the next four innings, all but assuring his team of a victory. He pitched the complete game and struck out five batters, while helping his cause with a double and a run scored.

Arnone finished with three hits and two runs scored. Moats had two hits and Bradley Banzhoff hit a two-run double for Conococheague.

Iseminger said he hopes his team shows the same fire today that helped it remain alive in the postseason on Sunday.

"Hopefully they will bring the same stick. We don't just need to be ready, we need to be pumped, too," he said.

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