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Haupt, Courtney prevail with power

June 25, 2007|By CONNER GILBERT / Staff Correspondent

CHEWSVILLE - Brandon Haupt and Alex Courtney both felt pressure Sunday, but their abilities to overcome it helped them win titles at the seventh annual Washington County Little League Home Run Derby at Aaron Steiner Field.

Haupt, from Maugansville Little League, was the champion of the 11-year-old division. Courtney, from Federal Little League, won the 12-year-old division.

"It was a lot of pressure," Haupt said. "But I had a good feeling that I'd win."

Haupt nailed the first pitch he saw for a home run. After hitting two more homers, he was tied for the lead with three other batters before knocking one out to deep right-center field to clinch the lead with four.

In the 12-year-old division, Courtney provided some of the biggest blasts of the afternoon, delivering towering shots deep beyond the outfield fence. He finished with six home runs, tying him for the lead with Sharpsburg Little Leaguer Josh Grim.

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At the end of the round, Courtney and Grim faced off in a tiebreaker to decide the winner. Down by one and facing elimination, Courtney came through with a pair of homers to seal the victory. He finished with eight home runs.

"I was nervous," Courtney said. "I was kind of scared at the end, but the walkoff home run felt good."

Both players attributed their good performances to hard work and practice.

"I practice hitting a lot," Haupt said. "Even in November or December or on holidays, I'm out there practicing."

Courtney follows the same approach, taking practice swings as often as he can.

"I always go to the batting cages at Extra Innings and practice hitting," Courtney said.

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