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South Caroline wins state tournament

July 30, 2004|by CHRIS CARTER/Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - The South Caroline All-Stars had more than enough pitching and defense to win the Maryland Little League 11-12 Tournament championship on Thursday at Ebersole Field.

With some help from the East Frederick defense, they were able to make it a rout.

East Frederick made eight errors - including five straight with two outs during South Caroline's seven-run second inning - to help South Caroline notch a 12-0 victory in 3 1/2 innings.

"I told the team that if they put the ball in play, anything can happen," South Caroline manager Curtis Payne said. "(East Frederick) gave us some opportunities to score some runs and we took them."

South Caroline's Robbie Payne gave his second solid pitching performance of the tournament, allowing just one hit while fanning five for the win.

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"(Robbie) has been steady for the whole tournament," Curtis Payne said. "His curveball wasn't as good today as it usually is, but he adjusted and pitched well."

Payne's bat also was solid.

After South Caroline grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning, Payne ignited the seven-run rally in the second by launching a two-out home run over the right-field fence.

After five consecutive East Frederick errors allowed South Caroline to score three more runs, Ben LeNave capped the rally with a three-run homer to left-center field for a 9-0 South Caroline lead.

"I try not to let the guys focus on who the pitcher is or other things that we can't control," Curtis Payne said. "We just need to be concerned with what we need to do and let things come to us, and that's kind of what happened today."

"We made a lot of mental mistakes that compounded into bunches and they're tough to overcome," East Frederick manager Mike Long said. "It was disappointing because we won a heck of a game to even get here. It's been a long road, but in the end we didn't get the plays that we needed, and they did."

South Caroline added three runs in the third to put the 10-run mercy rule in effect, and Robbie Payne retired East Frederick in order to end the game.

South Caroline went 4-0 at the tournament and will advance to the East Regional in Bristol, Conn., next week.

"We know it's going to be tough to go up there and win games, but the big thing is for the kids to have fun," Curtis Payne said. "If we run up on a team that's better than us, then so be it. But hopefully we can be competitive."

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