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Hancock storms back to beat Federal

June 27, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

HANCOCK - Tuesday's Maryland District 1 9-10 All-Star Tournament first-round game between Hancock Little League and Federal Little League provided a perfect example of what can happen to kids when momentum and pressure mix.

Federal took a 9-1 lead into the sixth inning, but Hancock quickly loaded the bases with no outs. As the runs started going up on the scoreboard, momentum shifted Hancock's way and Federal felt the pressure.

By the time the inning was over, Hancock had scored eight runs to tie the game and force extra innings, and three more runs in the seventh gave Hancock a stunning 12-9 victory.

"I told our kids to just keep plugging away and it will come, and they did," Hancock manager Brian Mottern said. "But I told them, 'Please, tomorrow night, don't wait until the last inning.'"

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"You could see the pressure. With 9- and 10-year-old kids, you never know what's going to happen," Federal coach Charles Wood said. "They played hard. We just could not get out of the (sixth) inning."

Hancock loaded the bases with two walks and a single, before Tristan Douglas lined a single to center to start the rally.

"Once we got the bases loaded and Tristan got that hit, that got the kids going," Mottern said.

Darren Lashley walked to force in a run to make it 9-3. Jesse Wolford then hit a grounder to Federal second baseman Mike Brechbill, who could have tagged out Lashley running to second or thrown to first for the force out. Instead, he threw home, and it was too late as Jordan Tosten slid home to make it 9-4.

Casey Elbin followed with a shot up the middle that deflected off pitcher Cole Conrad's glove and got past the shortstop for an error, allowing two more runs to score to make it 9-6.

After Kyle Kerns singled to left to reload the bases, Hunter Murray's fielder's choice groundout scored Wolford to make it 9-7. Justin Barnard's groundout to Conrad scored Elbin, and Tosten sent an RBI double to the right-field gap that center fielder Phillip Lloyd just missed making a spectacular catch on as Murray scored the tying run.

"(Tosten is) a great kid to have up there in that situation," Mottern said.

Douglas and Lashley led off the seventh with singles, and three Federal errors later in the inning led to three Hancock runs to close the scoring.

Federal took advantage of eight Hancock errors in building the 9-1 lead. Conrad hit an RBI double in the first and reserves Andrew Firey and Aaron Dopson each hit a two-run single in the third.

"We had a 9-1 lead and our pitchers were throwing strikes," Wood said. "If we make some plays at the end, we get out of it."

Hancock hosts Conococheague today at 6 p.m. in the second round of the winners' bracket. Federal will play the Maugansville-Sharpsburg loser at home on Thursday.

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