West End rallies to beat Halfway

July 08, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

According to the old saying, you have to walk before you can run.

It was a little different at West End. The Little League All-Stars walked to get runs and then got runs because of hits.

West End used a world of patience, combined with a heavy dose of Halfway wildness, to come away with a 7-2 victory on Wednesday in the opening round of the Maryland District 1 11-12 Tournament. West End travels to face Maugansville tonight at 6.

"My philosophy is pitching, defense and timely hitting," said West End manager Bill Nutter. "We didn't get our hits until the end."


They didn't need them until then.

A fluke play and a sudden loss of rhythm for Halfway starting pitcher Stephen Ashby allowed West End to erase a 2-0 deficit in merry-go-round fashion. Runners went station-to-station around the bases to score four runs on six walks and a hit batter -- with some wild pitches and passed balls mixed in.

"Four runs on no hits," said Halfway coach Dave Barr. "That pretty much tells the story. (Ashby) was throwing a good game. I thought the call that was reversed hurt us badly."

Halfway wrote a new chapter to the "hidden ball trick" that ended up backfiring. It put an end to what was an overpowering performance by Ashby, who struck out the first eight West End hitters he faced.

Dylan Bickford and Corbin Rowland led off the fourth and advanced to second and third on errant pitches.

Airin Martin struck out, but Halfway catcher Matt Malphurs lost sight of the ball. While he was spinning around looking for it, courtesy runner Jeremy Washington scored from third. Rowland attempted to score from second but was tagged out when first baseman Zach Barr came down and pulled the ball out from behind Malphurs' chest protector.

After conferring, the umpiring staff ruled that Rowland should have been held at third base because of a dead ball. So, instead of two outs with no runners on, West End had one out and a runner on third.

Ashby threw 49 pitches in the fourth inning and was lifted after reaching his pitch limit. He issued walks to Dante Harper, Jacquon Loveless, Brady Nutter and Christian Archie and hit Cody Reeder with a pitch to give West End a 4-2 lead.

West End iced the game with three runs in the fifth. Caleb Demottez had an RBI single before the final two runs scored Washington's sacrifice bunt attempt was thrown away. West End did all its scoring on only two hits.

Halfway took a 2-0 lead over Martin, West End's starting pitcher, with an unearned run in the first and a run in the second on RBI singles by Chase Eichelberger.

Martin pitched the complete game, holding Halfway to six hits while striking out 15 in his 87-pitch outing.

"Martin is a heck of a pitcher and seems to get stronger as the game goes on," said Nutter. "That's what we teach them ... to take what they give us."

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