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Federal LL stars rally for tough win

reach state winners' bracket final

August 07, 2008

EASTON, Md. - The Federal Little League 11-12 All-Stars rallied from a 4-2 deficit with three runs in the fifth inning Saturday and advanced to the Maryland State Tournament winners' bracket final with a 5-4 victory over Frederick National at the North Easton Sports Complex.

"We needed to have a close game," Federal manager Will Abeles said. "I was a little concerned about when we'd experience that game, how we'd respond, but we got our answer. This is the state championship and this was a great game."

Brady Hornbecker led off the bottom of the fifth with an infield single, and Mark Grunberg came in to pinch run for him. Andrew Yacyk walked before Zane Schreiber doubled to center to score both Grunberg and Yacyk to tie the game at 4.

Ryan Kinter pinch ran for Schreiber, and with two outs, Josh Moats hit a chopper to the pitcher, whose throw to first was dropped, allowing Kinter to race home with the winning run.

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"They were taking it to us and we needed a little bit of luck," Abeles said. "We got to the fifth inning, got a couple guys on, kept battling and putting the ball in play, and they made one key error that helped us out."

Kinter took the mound in relief in the sixth inning and got a lineout and a popout before walking J.J. Homble. Kinter then induced John Willis to hit back to the mound for the final out.

Frederick National took a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth, but the damage could have been much worse. Leading 3-2, Frederick loaded the bases with no outs against Schreiber when Homble and Willis each singled and Jerel English walked.

Schreiber was relieved by Adam Blenckstone, who struck out the first two hitters he faced before walking Blake Lincoln to make it 4-2. Blenckstone then induced a groundout to get out of the inning after allowing just one run, keeping Federal close enough to rally.

"Blenckstone came in in a tough situation and almost got us out of the inning with no runs scored," Abeles said. "He pitched great in relief."

Federal opened the scoring in the second inning when Dalton Jobe was hit by a pitch and came around on a walk, a fielder's choice and a passed ball.

Frederick took a 2-1 lead in the third on English's RBI single and Dylan Davey's RBI double. Frederick made it 3-1 in the fourth on Lincoln's leadoff home run.

Federal closed the gap to 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth. Jobe singled before Grunberg pinch ran for him and scored on Moats' RBI double.

Schreiber allowed five hits and struck out five in four-plus innings for Federal, which gets to enjoy an off-day today before playing at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday against Easton in the winners' bracket final.

"We will practice (Monday) morning just to stay tuned," Abeles said. "We're close enough to the shore and the beach that they're going to enjoy the afternoon, and we'll get back at it Tuesday."

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