East Frederick stays alive

July 29, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

WILLIAMSPORT - Dougie Sims stands 4-foot-5 and weighs 73 pounds, plays left field and bats ninth for East Frederick. It isn't difficult to pick out the "short straw" on the team of 11- and 12-year-olds.

Hitless in four previous at-bats, Sims smashed a grand slam in the top of the sixth inning that propelled East Frederick past Hughesville 16-12 in the losers' bracket final of the Maryland Little League Tournament on Wednesday.

East Frederick, which watched Hughesville take a 12-8 lead with an eight-run fifth inning, moves into the championship bracket against South Caroline tonight at 6, hoping to avenge a 3-2 loss in the opening round. An East Frederick win would force a final game Friday.


"I thought to myself, it would be great to hit a home run when I got to the plate, but I really just wanted to get a base hit," Sims said. "I just thought it would be so great to hit a grand slam. My heart was pumping so hard when I rounded the bases."

Hughesville took a 4-2 lead after the first inning behind Mike Bowie's three-run homer - the first of seven in the game.

Mickey Burks hit a solo shot for East Frederick in the third - his fourth in two nights - and Eric Conway drilled a three-run shot that gave East Frederick an 8-4 lead heading to the last of the fifth inning.

Hughesville pushed across eight runs, the first four on a grand slam by Josh McGee. Teammate Jonathan Nagy added a home run in the inning and Hughesville took a 12-8 lead.

"I really thought it was over after we got those eight runs," Hughesville manager Bob Hunsberger said. "But, East Frederick is a great hitting team."

Burks - who went 4-for-5 - followed Sims' blast with a two-run homer, his fifth in two games.

East Frederick manager Mike Long, who called the losers' bracket the "rebound bracket," talked to Sims before his at-bat.

"He had lined out his last at-bat and I told him he could hit an even better line drive," Long said. "He looked at me and said, 'I'll try.'"

Each team had 14 hits.

Conway, Stephen Hammerle, Sean Brennen and Zach Jones each had two hits for East Frederick.

McGee and Charley Mays each had three hits for Hughesville. Bowie and Royce Hunsberger each had two hits.

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