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Conococheague prevails in a see-saw fight

June 26, 2008|By CONNER GILBERT / Staff Correspondent

Federal Little League had the potential tying run at second base with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, and everyone at Kenneth E. Dudley Field could feel the tension rising. But perhaps no one was more nervous than Conococheague manager Pat Taylor.

"I've been nervous for two weeks," Taylor admitted.

But pitcher Jake Arnone's strikeout sealed Conococheague's 11-9 victory in a see-saw battle in the Maryland District 1 9-10 Tournament.

"I couldn't be more proud of these guys," said Taylor. "All 12 players on the team did something. It was a 100-percent team effort."

Conococheague jumped out to a lead in the bottom of the first on Austin Golden's two-run double to left field. Golden scored on a passed ball to put his team up 3-0.

But Federal answered back in the second, scoring four runs on bases-loaded walks to go up 4-3.

In the third, Federal went up 6-3 on Malik Carey's RBI double and Justin Smith's RBI single.

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"We took a lead and they came back, but we didn't put our heads down," said Taylor.

After picking up a run on an error in the fourth, Conococheague regained the lead in the fifth. A pair of Federal errors yielded two runs, while Golden scored on a bases-loaded walk. Isaac Schlotterbeck's RBI single to center and Colby Byers' two-run double to left put Conococheague ahead 10-6.

"Colby had a big hit for us in a big situation," Taylor said. "It was right on time, right when we needed it."

Federal got a pair of runs back in the bottom half of the inning when Ryan Brown came through with a two-run single to left, cutting Conococheague's lead to 10-8.

"I'm very pleased to have a good-hitting team," said Federal manager Tim Smith. "I'm very happy with what I saw."

Ethan Moats scored on a fielder's choice in the sixth to give Conococheague an 11-8 lead.

Federal threatened to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. After Nathan Kline's RBI double down the left-field line made the score 11-9, Federal had a pair of runners in scoring position -- setting the stage for Arnone's big strikeout.

"We battled back, and it was a phenomenal team effort," said Taylor. "I loved it."

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