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American learns error of its ways

July 08, 2006|by TYLER KAHL / Staff Correspondent

American Little League 11-12 All-Stars manager Moe Price put it best: "The game depends on fundamentals."

Unfortunately, on Friday, his defense proved him right, making two costly errors in the sixth inning to allow the game-winning runs in a 5-2 first-round loss to Halfway in the District 1 Tournament.

Trailing 2-1, American pitcher Tyrell McKoy started the sixth by giving up singles to Brett Barr and Blake Miller. The damage was done when the next two batters, Cody Hadley and Ethan Coblentz, reached on potential double-play ground balls misfielded by shortstop Derek Black allowed Halfway the opportunity to tack on three runs and make the score 5-1.

"We had some loose gloves out there," said Price. "But I think we can fix it and battle back through the losers' bracket."

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American also struggled offensively, as Halfway pitcher Blake Miller allowed one earned run on two hits while striking out five in the complete-game victory.

"Blake is one of my top pitchers," said Halfway manger Dennis Hadley. "I planned on throwing him the whole game. He would've had to get in pretty deep trouble for me to pull him."

American only threatened Miller in the fourth. With the score 2-0 and runners on first and second, Miller gave up his first run on an RBI double by Blake Lyles.

Lyles moved to third after a failed squeeze play to step up one of the game's pivotal plays: With Ahmere Ware at the plate, Lyles was caught stealing home to end the inning.

"Blake is a great base stealer, but we did take the bat out of a good hitter's hands," said Price. "I kind of wish we had it back."

Halway's offense didn't fare much better than American's.

After allowing four hits and two runs in the bottom of the second, McKoy settled down, allowing only two baserunners in the next three innings before the disasterous sixth.

Barr was responsible for the majority of Halfway's offense, going 3-for-3 with a home run.

Halfway will host Valley today at 2 p.m. American will host the loser of today's West End-South Mountain game on Monday.

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