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Shoop gets noticed with late homer

July 08, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

It might be easy to lose track of Sinjin Shoop, both in the field and on the lineup card.

The 11-year-old Conococheague All-Star made sure he wasn't missed Monday in the second round of the Maryland District 1 11-12 Tournament.

Shoop lifted an Airin Martin pitch over the left-center field fence with one out in the bottom of the seventh to give Conococheague a 2-1 walk-off win against West End at Hellane Park.

"Fastball," said Shoop of the game's final pitch. "I didn't know it was going to be gone until it went over. It feels really good."

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Shoop, perhaps the smallest player on the field, started the game hitting out of the No. 9 spot and substituted out midway through the game.

Upon his return, he sent the third pitch he saw in the seventh inning toward Route 40, outside the left-field fence.

"He's our No. 9 hitter but we're 13 strong," said Conococheague manager Mike Renn. "Any of our 13 can put it out of the park."

Jack Kelly slugged a solo shot to lead off the second to account for Conococheague's other run.

"We try to preach to make solid contact," Renn said. "(Home runs) are a nice thing to fall back on, but we need to get some baserunners."

The long ball was enough Monday, thanks in part to strong pitching.

Brendon Toloso scattered three hits and struck out eight before reaching the pitch limit at the end of six innings.

Toloso was one strike away from a shutout before walking Colby Johnson on a full count. The fourth ball was wild, allowing Martin to score from third base to tie the game at 1-1.

He ended the inning with a strikeout on his 85th pitch, stranding runners on second and third.

"Brendon threw the ball extremely well. He couldn't have thrown any better," Renn said. "He had the fastball and slider going and he kept it down in the zone, which is what you have to do against a team like West End.

"We watched (West End) on Saturday and I think we had a good feel for their hitters."

Kelly relieved Toloso and pitched a scoreless seventh with two strikeouts, setting the stage for Shoop's game-ender.

Martin took the loss for West End, despite scattering five hits with seven strikeouts in four-plus innings of relief. West End falls to the losers' bracket and will travel to play South Mountain tonight at 6.

Conococheague will host the Halfway-Clear Spring winner on Wednesday. Halfway was leading the game 9-1 when rain forced a suspension after two innings.

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