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Conococheague storms past Federal for title

July 12, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

A 'blitzkrieg' is known as a strategy of using fast-moving tanks with a motorized infantry supported by dive-bombers, concentrating on the enemy sector.

After four scoreless innings between two high-scoring teams, Conococheague blitzed Federal with a seven-run fifth inning and held on for an 8-5 victory Tuesday night and the Maryland District 1 9-10 All-Star Tournament title.

Brandon Iseminger induced Federal's Josh Barron into a game-ending groundout to put Conococheague into the sectional tournament in Brunswick, Md., beginning July 22 against the yet-to-be-determined District 4 winner in a best-of-3 series.

"We're feeling great," said manager Mike Iseminger, whose team played its first game since last Thursday when it lost to Federal to force Tuesday's deciding game.

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Barron kept Conococheague at bay through four innings and the Federal defense made clutch plays to keep zeroes on the scoreboard. Brandon Iseminger kept Federal hitters off balance with an array of slow, and slower, pitches.

Suddenly, the Conococheague blitzkrieg hit with a seven-run outburst before an out was recorded.

Jack Kelly delivered a run-scoring single that broke the ice and two runs followed on a Federal fielding error for a 3-0 lead. Then, Nick Williams broke the game open as he launched a rocket deep over the left- field fence for a three-run homer and 6-0 lead. Conococheague added another run off reliever Ryan Kinter.

"We've been working with (Nick) on being patient," said Mike Iseminger. "We know he has the ability."

"The pitch was inside at the waist," said Williams. "I was ready to cry after that one."

Federal, which averaged eight runs in its charge through the losers' bracket, answered with three runs off of Brandon Iseminger, with runs scoring on two Conococheague errors, a sacrifice fly by Andrew Yacyk and single by Nick Karlen.

Williams came to the plate in the sixth and made a solo trip around the bases with his second home run of the game - and second of the tournament.

Federal scored twice in the sixth on singles by Kinter and Mark Grunberg and a double by Zane Schreiber. After a walk to Yacyk, Federal had the tying run at the plate before Conococheague prevailed.

Brandon Iseminger worked the distance without recording a strikeout, putting the onus on the defense, which turned 13 outs on ground balls.

"I've got confidence in my defense," Brandon Iseminger said.

"Conococheague is a good defensive team," said Federal manager Charles Wood. "They made some tough plays look routine."

Mike Iseminger employed his son as the starting pitcher hoping to throw Federal off balance with pitches that often fell below 40 mph.

"We didn't want them hitting fastballs, so (Brandon) throwing at a slower speed was by design," he said.

"We had to get up on them early and we weren't able to do that," said Wood. "We got our bats going a little too late."

The district title is the second for Conococheague. Its first was in 2004. Federal was attempting to win its first title.

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