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American walks this way to win

June 29, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

When the concession stand has closed before the finish of a contest, you know you've been at a Little League game for a long period of time.

For 3 hours, 47 minutes, American and West End battled through pitching problems, erratic fielding decisions and just a plain old long night.

More than 400 pitches were thrown, mostly leading to 40 walks. In the end, American prevailed 27-16 in a Maryland District 9-10 Tournament losers' bracket battle at West End.

"A lot of pitchers, a lot of walks. I can't say I've ever been in a game this long," said American manager Bobby Baker.

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The snail's pace began at the outset. West End pitcher Shuntan Hickman threw a first-pitch strike before firing 17 balls in a row.

Three walks by reliever Cameron Davis around a single by Steven Drury helped American off to a 6-0 lead in the top of the first.

After being no-hit by National in the tournament opener, West End came out swinging and had three hits in the first inning -- including Ryan Nikirk's two-run single -- to cut the gap to 6-4.

American scored six more runs in the second with Desmar Wilson and Chase Molony collecting doubles and Josh Main hitting a triple to take a 14-8 lead.

West End battled back to climb within 14-13 with the help of four American walks and a key two-run single by Jordon Washington before a baserunning blunder helped take it out of the inning.

American used five West End walks, two errors and only one hit to score seven times in the sixth for a 21-13 lead and then salted the game away in the sixth with six runs off one hit and six walks.

"I just kept telling the kids to keep their heads up," said Baker. "We had only eight hits and scored 27 runs."

West End actually outhit American 12-8 but six pitchers yielded 27 walks. American had 13 free passes.

Main and Drury had two hits each for American, who will host Maugansville tonight at 6 p.m.

Zack Martin, Derick Hughes, Charles Bright, Hickman and Washington had two hits each for West End.

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