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Federal edges Conococheague in seven innings

July 02, 2004|by CHRIS CARTER

If the Conococheague All-Stars learned anything during the losers' bracket semifinal of the District 1 9-10 Tournament, it's that no lead is safe.

Andrew Yacyk hit the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to cap a three-run, seventh-inning rally and Federal knocked off defending district champion Conococheague 11-10 to move one step closer to the district final at Halfway on Saturday.

"All my fears went away when (Austin Holly) slid into home and everybody ran on the field," said Yacyk of the game-winner. "I was just so excited that we won."

The comeback was the third of the game for Federal, which had trailed 4-0, 8-3 and 10-8.

"These kids have been prepared for this type of situation ever since the tournament started," said Federal coach Dennis Corapi. "A game like this just shows how much they want to win."

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Trailing by two runs in the sixth, Federal loaded the bases with no outs. Kevin Proctor walked and Cole Myers hit an RBI groundout, tying the game and sending it to extra innings.

Conococheague took a 10-8 lead in the seventh on Zach Shank's two-run double to deep left field.

Then Federal gave its coach a lot to be proud of.

"The kids knew that the game wasn't over and we still had a chance," said Corapi. "They never let their heads down, never gave up and I'm so proud of them for it."

Aaron Showe doubled to the right-center-field gap, scoring Charles Cvijanovich, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Showe went to third on Alex Courtney's sacrifice bunt and tied the game when Holly reached on an infield error. Two batters later, Yacyk lined an 0-1 pitch to center for the win.

"Hitting is one thing that all 11 of these guys can do," said Corapi. "I would have been confident with any of them up there, but Andrew came up big."

But after the first few innings, Federal's chances for a triumph appeared to be slim.

Conococheague scored four runs over the first two innings while starting pitcher Ricky Long held Federal to just one hit.

Federal cut the lead to 4-3 after three innings, but gave up four more in the fourth for its biggest deficit at 8-3.

It proved to be a motivation, though, for Federal reliever Alijah Benson, who entered the game in the fourth and did not allow an earned run for three innings.

"We don't have one overpowering pitcher on our team, but we have three or four that I have faith in when we need them and Alijah is one of them," said Corapi.

"I just wanted the ball," said Benson.

Kris Burdick's two-run single highlighted a three-run fifth for Federal, which added two in the sixth to tie it.

"They did what they needed to do to win the game," said Conococheague coach John Mason. "They've got a lot of talent on their team and it turned out to be too much."

Federal will host Oakland in the losers' bracket final today.

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