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American stays alive just by having fun

July 10, 2007|By ANDREW MASON

Brendon Colbert and Tyler Maust each went 3-for-3, Darian Hampton drove in four runs and Ahmere Ware pitched 4 2/3 innings of solid relief, leading American to a 14-6 victory over National in a first-round losers' bracket game Monday night at Staley Field in the Maryland District 1 11-12 All-Star Tournament.

"It was a fun one," said American manager Rod Wilson, whose team hosts Halfway today at 6 p.m. "When you win, it's always fun."

American capitalized on 13 hits, 10 walks, three hit batsmen and four National errors.

"We have a lot of talent. Coming into the tournament, a lot of people thought we were a team to beat," said National manager Scott Appel, whose team was eliminated after going 0-2. "Typically, our strengths are pitching and defense, but both let us down in this tournament."

"Bases on balls, it's the old clich, they'll come around and kill you. And the balls that were hit found holes, or we misplayed them. But give American credit. They came out and played harder than we did."

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American scored two runs in the top of the fourth to take the lead for good at 6-4. Colbert scored from third on a wild pitch to make it 5-4, before Anthony Morton was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

American extended its lead to 9-4 in the fifth without even getting a hit, scoring the three runs on five walks and a wild pitch.

"They were struggling to throw strikes," Wilson said, "and I figured we should take advantage of it."

American started swinging in the sixth, getting five hits in a five-run rally to make it 14-5. The big blow was a two-run single to center by Jaquien Gantt.

National threatened in its final set of at-bats in bottom half. Keith Johnson drew a leadoff walk to end Ware's night on the mound. Three batters later, National had hot-hitting Logan Appel at the plate with the bases loaded and one out.

But Appel just missed hitting his second homer of the game, flying out to deep left to drive in Johnson from third, before the runner from second was thrown out at third on the play to end the game.

"We got lucky," Wilson said. "(Logan Appel) just missed it."

Appel finished 2-for-3 with a homer, double and three RBIs, while Scott Bennett also homered for National.

Trey Jesse had two hits and Gantt drove in three runs for American.

Ware took over on the mound with one out in the bottom of the first in a 3-3 game, and allowed only single runs in the second and fifth before leaving in the sixth.

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