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Yacyk's no-hitter, 3 HRs close down Delaware

Yacyk's no-hitter, 3 HRs close down Delaware

August 07, 2008|By PAUL ANGILLY / The Bristol Press

BRISTOL, Conn. - The question was asked in the Breen Field press box at the Eastern Regional Little League headquarters in Bristol, Conn. on Saturday afternoon: Had anyone ever hit home runs in three straight at-bats in a regional game before?

The answer to that question was not immediately forthcoming, but certainly Hagerstown Federal's Andrew Yacyk had a game for the ages against Delaware state champion M.O.T. (Middletown, Odessa, Townsend) Little League. Not only did he hit home runs in each of his first three regional at-bats, he also pitched a no-hitter - nearly a perfect game - as Maryland's state champs recorded a 12-0 victory in their opening game of pool play in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament.

"This is probably the best game I've ever had in my life," Yacyk said.

Delaware's leadoff batter reached base on an infield error in the first inning, but he was later retired at second on a fielder's choice and the new runner was thrown out attempting to steal. Yacyk then retired the next 16 batters in order - 11 via strikeout, including the last seven in a row.

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"It felt really good getting that last kid out," Yacyk said. "They hit the ball really well, and our defense helped me out a lot."

Batting second in the lineup, Yacyk blasted a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall in the top of the first inning to give Federal a 1-0 lead. With two outs in the third, following Ryan Byard's steal of second base after reaching on a fielder's choice, Yacyk belted a 1-0 pitch to nearly the same spot for a two-run homer and a 3-0 lead.

"I was a little surprised. I thought they were going to put me on (with first base open)," Yacyk said.

Then in the fifth inning, right after Byard celebrated his 13th birthday with a two-out solo home run to center field, Yacyk drilled an 0-2 pitch out of the park to left-center for a 5-0 Federal lead.

"I think they were trying to throw me outside, so I went out and got it," Yacyk said.

Delaware pitched around Yacyk in the sixth inning, drawing a walk when a 3-2 pitch hit the dirt in front of the plate. But that just loaded the bases for Zane Schreiber, who delivered a grand slam over the center-field fence - capping a seven-run inning for the Maryland champions.

"Good start. Great start. Couldn't ask for anything better," Federal manager Bill Abeles said. "Their hearts were beating a little harder today. I'm very pleased to get out to the start that we did."

Byard was thrilled about his birthday homer, which came at a key time in the game.

"I liked it. I liked that home run feeling," he said.

In his return from a heel injury that was aggravated during the Maryland state semifinal, Byard also had a sixth-inning single and hit a pair of hard shots in his first two times up that were only outs thanks to excellent defensive play by Delaware's third baseman.

"It feels good to be back, just to know I can still play," Byard said.

The start of the game was delayed about two hours after heavy rain and lightning delayed the day's first game in the bottom of the sixth inning.

"That's tough on 12- and 13-year-olds. ... They're used to a routine," Abeles said.

Federal continues pool play today with an 11 a.m. game against Washington. On Monday, it plays the Pennsylvania state champs at 11 a.m., then the team wraps up pool play on Wednesday with a 2 p.m. game against New Jersey that will be televised live on the Boston- and New York-area regional sports networks NESN and MSG.

The top four teams in pool play advance to Friday's semifinal round, also televised by NESN and MSG.

"(There's) a long way to go from here," Abeles said.

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