Hancock follows Trail to Junior state berth

July 13, 2009|By KYLE RAIOS/Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT -- Dorothy followed the yellow-brick road. The Hancock Junior All-Stars followed the Trail.

Tyler Trail's pitched 6 2/3 outstanding innings Sunday, dashing Conococheague's hopes of an underdog victory as Hancock clinched the Maryland District 1 Junior All-Star title with a 6-1 victory.

"Errors kept it away," said Hancock manager Dennis Douglas, "It's a day late."

After failing to bring home the title Saturday night, Hancock came back Sunday with a vengeance.

"You wouldn't have known it was the same team from last night," Douglas added.

Trail started strong and never faltered.

"I was on fire," Trail said.

Trail blazed his way through the first three innings, not finding trouble until the fourth. After two quick outs, Conococheague got two baserunners with a hit batter and an error. Alex Miller hit a line drive to right, Conococheague's first hit for the evening.


But the runner from second got greedy, and paid for it at the plate, getting thrown out by the right fielder.

Hancock's offensive started early in the first, when leadoff hitter Levi Mellott was walked, then stole the next two bases. Nathan Kountz brought him in on a fielder's choice.

Hancock soon made it 5-0, scoring two runs in both the second and third innings off five hits and two errors.

Conococheague threatened again in the fifth, loading the bases after two outs, but ended up stranding them all again when Trail garnered his fourth strikeout. Conococheague stranded nine runners in the game.

Trail settled down again in the sixth inning, walking the leadoff hitter before retiring the next three hitters.

With his pitch count reaching its limit, Trail took to the mound again in the top of the seventh, striking out the first two batters he saw before exiting to a resounding cheer from the Hancock bleachers. He fanned seven Conococheague hitters and allowed only four hits.

One out remained, and with Trail gone, Conococheague gained some momentum, putting runners on second and third on a single by Brandon Toloso and a Hancock error.

Greg Miller then singled to left, bringing Toloso home for Conococheague's first run.

Hancock reliever Braydon Litton retired Conococheague's last hope on strikes, putting an end to the late surge.

Hancock advances to the state tournament, which begins July 25 at Valley. Hancock has a first-round bye and will play its first state game on July 26.

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