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Post 211 blows seven-run lead in elimination

August 14, 2005|By BRADLEY SCHLEGEL

CAMDEN, N.J. - Josh Bowers fell to one knee, on the brown spot in front of the mound, and dropped his head. Funkstown's third pitcher in the seventh inning allowed Chris Affinito's second homer of the game.

Affinito's three-run shot capped a 10-run rally which kept Milltown (N.J.) in the Mid-Atlantic American Legion Tournament.

Post 211, which squandered an early seven-run lead, was eliminated in the 17-7 loss at Campbell's Field.

Funkstown (41-14) scored seven runs in the first inning against Maulers starter Matt Metsch.

But Post 211 manager Darryl Powell pulled starting pitcher Andy Taylor after the third inning ahead, 7-1. Concerned with a high pitch count - 50 pitches - and hoping to pitch him Sunday, Powell brought in Craig Henson.

"As a manager I second guessed myself," Powell said. "I knew that if he threw many pitches, (Taylor) wouldn't be able to come back. And I thought we'd score more runs."

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Henson pitched a scoreless fourth, but allowed three runs in the fifth. A two-run homer by Affinito higlighted the rally to get the New Jersey runner-up within 7-4.

Then in the seventh, Milltown (29-6) sent 14 hitters to the plate. Scoring all 10 runs with two outs, it took advantage of a fielding error by third baseman Kyle Robinson.

James Corbett's single with the bases loaded off Matt Murray (4-1) drove in the first - and only earned - run. Robinson's miscue, on a grounder by Brian Dzuro, made it 7-6.

Three straight walks with the bases loaded - two by Murray and one from reliever Matt Steeleman - put Milltown ahead for good.

"I was in desperation mode," Powell said. "I was trying to find a pitcher who could get us in the dugout. Anybody at all."

After another pitching change, Andy Anderson's two-run single staked Milltown to an 11-7 advantage. Affinito smacked his three-run shot off Bowers over the center-field fence to cap the flurry.

"(Milltown) hit the daylights out of the ball," Powell said. "I have to give them a lot of credit."

In the first, Funkstown's offense built a 7-0 lead. David Warrenfeltz opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly. Later, Phil Powell smaked a two-run homer to make it 3-0. An RBI single by leadoff hitter Tyler Beard capped the rally.

"We were hitting line drives, and playing hit-and-run in the first inning," Darryl Powell said. "We're a good hitting team, and I thought that was our breakout inning."

But Post 211 did little against Nicky Meyers, who came on for Milltown in the first inning. Meyers, who tossed six shutout innings, earned the victory.

"By the third or fourth, we reverted back to trying to lift the ball," Darryl Powell said. "My decision to take out (Taylor) had nothing to do with what happened offensively. I figured we had enough pitching to get the job done. And I thought we would score more runs."

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