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Funkstown tops Frederick, 11-8

July 12, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER/Staff Correspondent

FUNKSTOWN - Funkstown Post 211 has worked itself into a difficult position. It must now win its remaining games to have any chance at defending its state title.

Funkstown took the first step Tuesday night as it knocked off Frederick Post 11 11-8 in Western Maryland District American Legion baseball action at Funkstown Memorial Park.

Funkstown must win its final four district games - all against first-half champion Mount Airy - for a possible postseason berth.

"We're at the point where there's nothing we can do except win out," said Funkstown coach Brian Smith. "But we're still taking one game at a time ... anything can happen."

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Funkstown fell behind 3-0 in the top of the third inning when Matt Watkins singled and scored on a home run by Bryan Nolan. Brandon Whipp followed with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jacob Derr. The trio of runs sent starting pitcher Cam Shifler to the bench.

"You could tell right from the get-go that (Shifler) didn't have his usual stuff," Smith said. "It was just one of those games."

Derr started for Frederick and was perfect through two innings before being touched up by Funkstown in the third. Jere Mills led off with a single and moved to second on a bunt single by Matt Fortese. Kevin Brashears notched the third Post 211 hit of the frame with a rocket to the left-center field gap to score Mills. An infield hit by Trevor Cobb put runners on the corners for Matt Murray, who slammed a home run to put Funkstown ahead, 5-3.

"(Murray) is one of those guys that we expect to see the big hit from," Smith said. "He's one of the returning players and well expect all of them to step up."

Murray was robbed of extra bases in his previous at-bat when the Frederick right fielder tracked down his rocket that faded toward the line and made an acrobatic catch.

That defensive gem was more than made up for by Funkstown outfielders Matt Byers and Cody Poffenberger. Byers took a hit away from Nolan in the fourth by throwing his body against the fence to snag the fly ball and Poffenberger did the same thing in the sixth to steal a hit and potential RBI from Derr.

"The outfielders were unbelievable. I guess it was the (Major League Baseball) All-Star weekend getting to them," Smith said. "It's something they see on TV and if they watch it enough they get good at it."

Frederick regained the lead in the fifth when Spencer Barrick reached on a bunt single and moved to second after Whipp was hit by a pitch. Jason Sutherland, who relieved Shifler in the fourth, struck out the next two Post 11 batters, but gave up an RBI base hit to Frankie Zier and Chris Hannigan reached on an error to plate two more and give Frederick a 6-5 lead.

Funkstown answered in the fifth as Frederick needed three pitchers to escape the six-run inning. Brashears led off with a double down the left-field line and scored on a Tyler Beard single to tie the game at 6-6. Beard scored the go-ahead run on a Matt Murray single, which chased Derr from the game. Relief pitcher Whipp fared no better as he walked two batters, hit another and gave up a single to Fortese, his third hit of the game. Mark Nestor was the next Post 11 pitcher and gave up a two-run single to Byers before recording the final out.

"We lacked the pitching tonight," said Frederick coach Tom Long. "We've had about eight games in the last five days and it's tough for some guys. It's tough to keep the arms going."

Sutherland gave up a two-run double to Chaz Remus that pulled Frederick to within 11-8, but was saved from further damage by Poffenberger's web gem. He walked a batter in the seventh before giving way to Kent Worthington, who struck out the side for the save.

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