Maugansville drops its opener

July 26, 2004|by CHRIS CARTER

WILLIAMSPORT - South Caroline pitcher Robbie Payne had his back against the wall on more than one occasion during the second round of the Maryland Little League Baseball 11-12 Tournament at Ebersole Field on Sunday.

But the way he responded made it seem like that wasn't such a bad place to be.

Payne pitched out of several jams, leading South Caroline to a 4-1 win over Maugansville - which received a first-round bye - for a spot in Tuesday's winners' bracket final against Hughesville - a 7-5 winner over Rising Sun.

Maugansville will face West Salisbury - a 4-3 winner over Arbutus - in a losers' bracket game tonight at 8.

"We were fortunate to be able to get (Maugansville) out when we needed it most," South Caroline manager Curtis Payne said. "Robbie got into some trouble but pulled through it well."

Robbie Payne needed only seven pitches to retire Maugansville in the top of the first and then helped his cause with a leadoff homer in the bottom half. Devanta DeShields later scored on a passed ball for a 2-0 lead.


Then Payne ran into trouble in the top of the second.

Zach Snodderly led off with a walk and Jake Bachtell followed with a slow roller to shortstop. Bachtell beat the throw, which sailed past South Caroline first baseman Ben LaNeve, allowing Snodderly to score from second base. Payne settled down to retire the final three batters in order to preserve the 2-1 lead.

Payne allowed two base runners with just one out in the third, before recording two straight strikeouts to end the inning.

South Caroline took a 3-1 lead in the third on Brady Hare's solo home run.

"The home runs were huge for us. They could very well have been the difference," said Curtis Payne. "We didn't hit any (home runs) in the district playoffs, so it's definitely a good thing when we can get them."

Maugansville received more opportunities in the fourth.

Ryan Sword led off with a walk, Alec Long singled to center and Zach Koontz reached on a bunt to load the bases with no outs. But Payne struck out the next two and Maugansville hit into an inning-ending fielder's choice at home.

"There's no question that we didn't live up to our offensive power," Maugansville manager Danny Braithwaite said. "We had a lot of chances with some of our best hitters and we just didn't get the job done."

After South Caroline went up 4-1 in the fifth on an RBI single by Hunter Bennett, Maugansville threatened again in the sixth. Alec Long singled and Bradley Kiracofe doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs for Maugansville.

But Payne once again stepped it up, getting a little help from his defense. After a strikeout, Matt Braithwaite flew out to right fielder Thomas Howe, who threw a strike to home, beating Long, who had tagged up, to end the game.

Payne finished with 10 strikeouts, while Hare and Bennett had two hits each for South Caroline.

Long had two hits for Maugansville.

West Salisbury 4, Arbutus 3

Scott Albright pitched a complete game with nine strikeouts to lead West Salisbury, which eliminated Arbutus from the tournament.

Chuck Yane had three hits, while Jake Ross, Eric Hickman and Clint van Sciver each had two hits for West Salisbury.

Jim Kosar homered and doubled for Arbutus.

Hughesville 7, Rising Sun 5

Rising Sun used five walks to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but Hughesville received five walks in the second which led to four runs and it never trailed again.

Hughesville added three more runs in the fifth for a 7-3 lead and survived Rising Sun's sixth-inning rally.

Royce Hunsberger and Casey Poncheri each had two hits for Hughesville.

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