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South Mountain helped by interference call

July 11, 2006|by JACK HILL III/Staff Correspondent

South Mountain Little League made a narrow escape from elimination on Monday night when it pulled out a 3-2 victory over American in a losers' bracket game in the District 1 11-12 All-Star Tournament.

South Mountain will play at Maugansville tonight at 6 p.m. in another losers' bracket contest. South Mountain would have hosted the game, but District 1 took the home game away after South Mountain failed to get all its players an at-bat in Saturday's loss to West End.

American had one last chance during the top of the sixth inning. American pitcher Derek Black started things by drawing a walk. Black moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Barnhart and took third on a wild pitch.

It first appeared that Zac Martin drew a walk and Black scored what would have been the tying run when ball four was a wild pitch. But the umpire ruled that Martin interfered with the catcher. Martin was called out and Black was forced to go back to third base.

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South Mountain pitcher Cody Palmer then struck out C.J. Davis to end the game.

"We had a judgmental call," American manager Moe Price said. "Sometimes, they're just too judgmental. I think the batter just got mixed up in the play. He just walked and he was trying to go to first base. They said that he got tangled up with the catcher, but I don't think that it was intentional."

South Mountain manager Danny Lewis supported the umpire's decision.

"I thought it was the correct call," Lewis said. "The batter was standing there and we couldn't get a play at home."

American reduced the deficit to one run in the fifth. Ashmere Wilson led off with an infield single. Blake Lyles followed with a double to right and Wilson beat the throw home to make it 3-2.

However, South Mountain catcher Nathan Hardy was alert on the play and threw out Lyles trying to go to third base, wiping out the potential tying run for American.

South Mountain erased a 1-0 deficit by scoring three runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good. Dalton Beard hit a two-run single to left and Ryan Robinson added an RBI single.

Palmer allowed just one earned run on four hits in six innings to get the win for South Mountain.

"I think the team played exceptionally well, especially Cody Palmer," Lewis said. "Overall, he couldn't have thrown a better game. Cody has always got good control. He is one of the pitchers that really focuses. That helps him to be successful in his job."

Black struck out nine and only allowed two earned runs in five innings.

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