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Binford powers Federal to first-round district win

July 08, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

Turns out an aluminum bat is Christian Binford's tool of choice.

Binford's two-out double to the left-field fence in the fifth inning scored the tying and go-ahead runs and lifted Federal Little League's 11-12 All-Stars to a 3-1 victory over American in a District 1 first-round game.

"We stayed in there and didn't get down," said Federal manager Tim Nelling. "We knew we could hit the ball, we just stayed in there and hacked away."

Binford also struck out nine in a complete-game victory. He was shaky in the first inning, when American's Gerald Tonsil doubled to lead off and later scored on a wild pitch. Binford also gave up a walk and hit a batter in the inning, but allowed just one more hit and one more walk the rest of the way.

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"The first inning, I wasn't surprised he wasn't in a groove," Nelling said. "But I watched him all season, and I knew he got stronger as the game goes on."

Tonsil started for American and pitched well through the first four innings (which included a rain delay of more than an hour), allowing four hits while striking out five.

But Tonsil became wild in the fifth, walking the bases loaded to set up Binford's heroics.

"Bases loaded, one big hit ...," said American manager Jim Ernde. "We should have hit the ball like we always do. We didn't swing the bats."

Federal added an insurance run in the sixth, which started with a scary moment when Dakota Durning was hit in the head by a pitch from American reliever Billy Springirth. Durning was not hurt, and Chris Nelling pinch ran for him.

Thomas Allen followed with a double off the right-field fence, and Tyler Presgraves' infield single scored Nelling.

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