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Defending champs come out swinging

June 28, 2007|By TIM KOELBLE

HANCOCK - In their first appearance as defending Maryland District 1 champions, Conococheague's 9-10 All-Stars clearly dominated Hancock on Wednesday in a four-inning blitz, 12-0.

Conococheague blended a 10-hit attack and two-hit pitching from Riley Arnone - and a possible case of mental fatigue on the part of Hancock - to advance to a winners'-bracket semifinal against Valley on Friday.

Hancock rallied from an eight-run deficit Tuesday to beat Federal, 12-9, but was anything but offensive-oriented Wednesday.

"(Tuesday's win) was emotional and tonight we did nothing," said Hancock manager Ryan Mottern.

Arnone allowed hits to Hancock's Darren Lashley in the second inning and Bradley Younker in the third. He walked only two and struck out nine.

"I had him on my regular-season team and he's kind of laid back," said Conococheague manager Mike Iseminger. "We got ahead and he was able to work some pitches."

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Leading the offensive support was Jordan Stonebraker, who doubled in a pair of runs in a five-run opening inning and then added a three-run homer in the third inning when he sent a Tristan Douglas offering far over the right-center-field fence for an 8-0 lead.

"That was the first home run (Stonebraker) has ever hit in any game competition at any level," said Iseminger.

Jordan Buchanan stroked a two-run double as part of a four-run fourth inning that helped end the game early.

"I'm happy with the start," said Iseminger. "We'll work on some situational hitting and we swung at some high pitches."

Hancock, which committed eight errors in Tuesday's game, was guilty of only one Wednesday, but made several mental mistakes that helped the Conococheague cause.

Three times Hancock outfielders overran fly balls, two infield hits could have been outs, a popup was dropped and another foul fly was not caught.

And Hancock couldn't produce offensively in the second inning, missing a bases-loaded, one-out situation.

"There just wasn't anything positive," said Mottern. "Defense hurt more than anything."

Hancock must regroup quickly with a losers'-bracket game tonight at South Mountain.

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