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Big inning, big voctory for Conococheague

July 03, 2007|By TIM KOELBLE

HANCOCK - Conococheague's two previous victories in the Maryland District 1 9-10 All-Star Tournament were highlighted by the big inning.

Monday was no different for the defending champions, who bottled up six runs in the third inning that paved the way to an 8-3 win that eliminated Hancock in a losers' bracket semifinal.

In previous wins, Conococheague had eight-run innings against Hancock on Wednesday and Federal on Friday.

Conococheague had to rally Monday, as Hancock bolted to an early 3-0 lead, showing no fear after losing 12-0 to Conococheague in the second round of the winners' bracket.

"I think our kids took (Hancock) a little for granted," said Conococheague manager Mike Iseminger. "We kept talking to them in the dugout. This was not the same Hancock team."

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After Conococheague left the bases loaded without scoring in the second inning, Hancock drew first blood in the bottom half as Brady Golden smacked a one-out double and Casey Elbin walked. Each moved up a base on a wild pitch.

Kyle Kerns brought in a run on a groundout and Elbin scored on a Conococheague error. After an error and a walk loaded the bases, Iseminger replaced starting pitcher Wyatt Scriever with Blake Harne. Hancock's Darren Lashley drove in a run on a fielder's choice before Harne retired the side without further damage.

Conococheague answered with its bats in the third against Hancock's Brandon Younker - who was pitching his third game in seven days.

Colby Byers led off with a double and Sinjin Shoop reached when Hancock booted his sacrifice bunt. Both runners scored when Riley Arnone roped a double, and Scriever followed with a home run to right center for a 4-3 lead.

Hancock gift-wrapped Conococheague's next two runs. With runners at second and third on an error and a double by Jordan Stonebraker, Harne popped out to shortstop Tristan Douglas, who threw home to keep J.J. Cooper at third. Stonebraker ventured too far off second, but the throw from home was off the mark, allowing Cooper and Stonebraker to score.

"We made a mistake on that play and that cost us being down only 4-3," said Hancock manager Brian Mottern. "But they really hit the ball hard in that inning."

Five of Conococheague's seven hits came in the third.

Harne slammed the door on Hancock over 4 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and walking only one.

"(Scriever) had some control problems and was clearly frustrated," said Iseminger. "I had Harne on my regular-season team, he doesn't throw hard, but he has good control."

Conococheague added two runs in the fifth off reliever Justin Barnard on a pair of walks and Arnone's second two-run double, this one a shot to right.

"(Younker) threw to the 75-pitch count in each of the first two games and 70 tonight," said Mottern. "That's an awful lot of pitches for a 9-year-old. But I'm proud of this team. It's the furthest any Hancock team has gone in 9-10."

Younker struck out five and walked only two in his three-inning stint.

Arnone's two doubles and four RBIs highlighted Conococheague's offense.

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