Hancock gets the fireworks starter early in Sharpsburg

July 07, 2007|By TIM KOELBLE

SHARPSBURG - The fireworks weren't coming from Antietam National Battlefield in the second inning but from the Little League field in town, thanks to the Hancock 11-12 All-Stars.

Using a combination of five hits, five walks and two errors, Hancock jumped to an 8-0 lead in the second inning and went on to a 12-4 victory over Sharpsburg in the opening round of the Maryland District 1 All-Star Tournament on Friday.

"I think we've got a good combination with a little bit of everything," said Hancock manager Dennis Douglas.

Starting pitcher Nathan Koontz began the blitz with an opposite-field single to right off Sharpsburg starter J.T. Hutchinson. Tyler Trail walked and Tanner Faith doubled to score Koontz and Trail. Faith moved to third on a wild pitch, Ben True walked and Faith scored on a fielder's choice by Nick Smartt for a 3-0 lead.

A force play, a Sharpsburg error and two walks led to another run. Hunter McKinley drove in a run with a single, Koontz had a two-run single to center, Trail had an RBI single on an infield hit and suddenly Sharpsburg was behind the eight-ball.


With the lead and Koontz having struck out the side in the first against Sharpsburg, Douglas decided to yank Koontz and save him. He threw only 18 pitches.

"(Koontz) is one of our monsters, but we've got plenty of other pitchers and when the opportunity existed, I pulled him and got the others some work," said Douglas.

Sharpsburg didn't fold the tent automatically as it answered with three runs in the second off Vinney Foreman.

Hutchinson reached on an error, Ernie Shoemaker singled, Brendan Brashears walked and Jordan Miller cleared the bases with a double that hugged the right-field line.

With a 9-4 lead through four, Hancock put three runs on the board in the fifth inning, using a combination of singles by Foreman and Levi Mellott, two Sharpsburg errors and a wild pitch.

"We had the one big inning that killed us," said Sharpsburg manager Ernie Shoemaker. "If you throw the ball away like we did, you won't win any games. At least our kids didn't quit. They went down fighting."

Jordan Leach pitched three innings for the win, allowing only a run on two hits. True finished with a three-strikeout sixth in Hancock's 12-strikeout performance.

Foreman reached base four times with two hits and two walks, and McKinley and Koontz each had two hits and two RBI.

"We hit the ball, got a few breaks and kept the ball in front of us defensively," said Douglas.

Hancock will play at home today at 5 p.m. against Valley while Sharpsburg drops into the losers' bracket and will host either Maugansville or Halfway on Monday.

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