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Maugansville makes last pitch count

July 12, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

MAUGANSVILLE - Right-handed pitcher Derek Herbert hit the target in more ways than one on Friday evening.

Not only did the Maugansville Little League 11-12-year-old All-Star pitcher toss a five-hitter against West End, he struck out the last batter of the game on three pitches - finishing with exactly 85 pitches to cap a 6-4 victory.

"Derek pitched well and the fact he didn't exceed the pitch count was very huge," Maugansville manager Rich Montgomery said. "That means we have our entire pitching staff available for Saturday."

Little League rules limits a pitcher to a maximum of 85 pitches in one game. One more batter on Friday would have forced Montgomery to go the bullpen and, in turn, weaken his pitching staff for tonight's 5 p.m. losers' bracket game at Valley.

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"I felt comfortable out there. I threw mostly fastballs," Herbert said.

Maugansville collected seven hits and received key hits from Taylor Shank, Logan Beal and John Britton.

Shank helped Maugansville take a 3-0 lead in the third inning with a two-run triple down the right-field line that glanced off Dylan Stouffer's glove and bounced into foul territory.

Beal added a solo home run to lead off the fourth inning and Britton actually decided the issue with a two-run homer in the fifth - providing Maugansville with a 6-1 cushion.

"Everyone had a hand in this one," Montgomery said. "Although Derek threw a lot of pitches in the late-going, I wasn't about to take him out. He loves the game and is always competitive. He has a lot of confidence."

Despite trailing 6-1 after 4 1/2 innings, West End didn't roll over and had the tying run at the plate when the game ended.

"We had some opportunities and things just didn't work out," West End manager Bob Leatherman said. "We stuck with a game plan and we battled to end. We had a chance to tie or take the lead in the sixth. You can't ask for more than that."

Leatherman praised West End's competitiveness throughout the double-elimination tournament and said a lack of consistent offensive production eventually made the difference.

"We didn't hit the ball as well as I would have liked," Leatherman said. "I think we were capable of hitting the ball with a little more consistency."

Dylan Stouffer and Colby Johnson hit home runs for West End while Dave Moser and Tyler Shindle collected two hits apiece.

West End started the sixth inning with Moser's single to left field and a run-producing double by Schindel.

Herbert was equal to the task, however, retiring the next three hitters to preserve the hard-earned win.

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