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Maugansville can't escape from Valley

July 15, 2006|by DAN KAUFFMAN

CHEWSVILLE - Maugansville Little League's 11-12 All-Stars finished a long and successful week with a long Friday that was anything but a success.

After a first-round loss at Oakland a week ago, Maugansville fought valiantly to reach Friday's District 1 Tournament losers' bracket final, winning four games in four days.

But a well-rested Valley squad and ace Ryne Willard proved too big an obstacle to overcome. Willard slugged two home runs and Valley opened the floodgates with 10 runs in the fifth inning to secure a 17-4 victory over Maugansville.

"We've had a long week," Maugansville manager Kenny Shanholtz said. "We didn't have our best pitchers. ... (Valley) deserved it. They're a good team. They hit the ball well and we made some mistakes where we could have stayed in the game. I'm proud of our boys. We lost our first game and still fought back to get here."

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"I'd like to give credit to those Maugansville boys," Valley manager Greg Spickler said. "To make two trips to Oakland and battle back to get here says a lot about those boys."

Valley's boys will find out how much fight they have in them at 6 this evening in the District 1 final at West End. Valley will face rested ace, Aaron Stoner, who struck out 16 in a no-hitter against National on Monday. Stoner homered and doubled in West End's 5-3 victory over Valley in the winners' bracket final Tuesday.

Valley must beat West End twice - a second game will be played Monday if necessary - to win the district title.

"We have quite a task tomorrow night, but I think our boys will be up to it," Spickler said. "We're looking forward to the challenge."

Willard led off Friday's game with a line-drive home run to left to give Valley a 1-0 lead on the fifth pitch of the contest.

He added a fourth-inning line-drive homer to center in the fourth and also walked twice, scoring after each free pass.

"Confidence shot way up," Willard said about his leadoff homer. "It felt really good."

"It got us pumped up and got the adrenalin going," Spickler said. "We've almost come to expect that from Ryne. He's the leader of the team, both pitching and hitting."

On the mound, Willard struck out five and allowed six hits and four runs - three earned. The earned runs all came in the fourth, when Maugansville strung together Colby Waugh's double to deep center and back-to-back home runs by pinch hitter Dalton Herbert and Dallas Carpenter to cut Valley's lead to 7-4. It was the lone bright spot for Maugansville.

Valley scored four runs in the second inning to take a 5-1 lead. Luke Toms' RBI double was the big hit, and Robbie Hogue and Nick Martin drove in runs with a groundout and sacrifice fly.

After Willard homered leading off the fourth, Martin singled and later scored with the help of two Maugansville errors to make it 7-1.

Maugansville's ray of hope following its fourth-inning rally clouded over in a hurry in the fifth. Valley sent 13 hitters to the plate, pounding five hits - including Patrick Long's double, Martin's two-run single, Brad Spickler's RBI single and Toms' three-run home run a good 60 feet past the fence in left - and taking advantage of four walks and three Maugansville errors to put the game away.

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