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National 9-10 All-Stars fall short in state final

August 04, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

BALTIMORE - It was like the National All-Stars went to a yard sale and couldn't find a bargain.

That's because West Salisbury's Scott McGriffen's pitching was definitely a case of one man's treasure being another man's junk.

McGriffen threw everything at National but the kitchen sink as his collection of junk pitches - an assortment of curves, breaking balls and changeups - kept the District 1 champs swinging meekly Wednesday in a 7-1 loss in the Maryland State 9-10 Tournament final at South Baltimore Little League.

"That boy pitched a heck of a game," said National manager Jeff Swope. "He kept us off balance all game. Everyone was swinging with their arms."

It was a tough defeat which ended what was a near-miraculous run by National. National lost its opener and then battled back through the losers' bracket for the right to face West Salisbury.

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National came off the mat Tuesday by scoring five runs in the fifth for the come-from-behind 9-7 victory to force Wednesday's championship game.

McGriffen made sure there was none of that drama early.

West Salisbury got all the momentum by scoring two runs off National starter Aaron Roby in the second inning using station-to-station baseball. The District 8 champs led off by loading the bases and then used a single by Mark Waguespack and a two-out hit by Candan Cropher to break on top, 2-0.

McGriffen made the early lead stand up by striking out two of the three batters he faced in the second, adding a heaping helping of frustration to National hitters with his late-breaking curve.

"When (West Salisbury) scored a couple of runs, I started to see the trouble in (National's) eyes," Swope said.

McGriffen went on to the complete-game win, allowing one run on four hits while striking out seven.

National added to its problems with three errors and some hesitation on a couple of plays that allowed West Salisbury to reach base and prolong innings.

"We didn't back our pitcher," Swope said. "We had a couple of errors and then (McGriffen) got in our heads. We knew what he was going to throw. We've seen him throw before, but we couldn't do anything with it."

West Salisbury added single runs in the third and fourth innings. Waguespack slapped his second scoring single to right in the third and Raekwon Sample scored from first on an outfield error in left for the 4-0 bulge.

National showed some spark in the fourth when Keith Johnson stroked a one-out single and eventually scored when Bret Rowland slapped a single down the left-field line to cut the deficit to 4-1.

West Salisbury countered with three runs in the sixth on four consecutive singles to lead off the inning, culminating in a run-scoring hit by Cropher and a two-run single off the center-field fence to close the scoring.

Roby walked to start the sixth and Johnson singled, but National's last rally attempt was snuffed by a double play.

"We hung in there," Swope said. "We lost the first game and then came back to win the second and third ones. Then we got a spark in them when we came back (Tuesday). But you gotta have runners to score, and we didn't get a lot of runners."

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