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Stimulus plan -- Hancock's offense doesn't bail out this time

July 15, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

It mattered little to Hancock that it had just lost at Federal 6-0 last Thursday in the second round of the Maryland District 1 11-12 Tournament.

What mattered more was the approach heading into an elimination game on that same field on Wednesday.

"We were overanxious against them the first time," said Hancock manager Dennis Douglas of his team that had been shackled by Cole Conrad's shutout performance.

Wednesday was different. Starting with a three-run first inning, Hancock never looked back on the way to an 11-2 victory to knock out the defending district kings and stay alive for another night.

Tonight, Hancock visits West End at 6 in the losers' bracket final. The winner will face Conococheague in the championship round on Friday.

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"Even in warmups, we were making adjustments at the plate," said Douglas. "We wanted the boys to work on keeping their weight back. I threw them a lot of curveballs in batting practice."

The name of the game was two-out rallies for Hancock.

Connor Litton and Casey Elbin had two-out singles and Justin Barnard drove in Litton with a single. Two more runs came in when Trent Rider roped a double to right.

With two outs in the second, Jordan Tosten singled, advanced to second and scored on a single by Tristan Douglas, knocking starting pitcher Michael Brechbill out of the box.

Litton greeted Conrad with a first-pitch, two-run home run for a 5-0 lead. Elbin followed with a single and went to second on a passed ball, befor scoring on a double by Barnard.

"We wanted to get up their and hit first and try to score first and get relaxed," said Dennis Douglas. "I like getting that quick jump."

Hancock's two defensive blunders led to a Federal run in the third, but answered with three runs in the fourth with a solo home run by Litton and a two-run homer by Barnard.

Each team scored a run in the fifth, Federal's coming on a home run by Brechbill to force a sixth inning.

Litton led a 14-hit attack with a 4-for-4 performance that included three RBIs and three runs scored. He also showed an arm from behind the plate, catching three Federal runners napping off base. Federal also gunned a runner down from the outfield.

"I just want to get hits," said Litton. "Anything over the plate, I just want to hit."

Rider performed spectacularly through 5 2/3 innings before reaching his pitch-count limit. He scattered six hits -- three by Justin Smith -- and walked only one while fanning 10 batters.

Barnard finished with three hits and four RBIs, while Rider and Elbin had two hits each. Rider and Douglas each drove in two runs.

Federal was coming off Tuesday's 15-3 victory over National, but the electricity did not appear against Hancock.

"We were a little flat and (Hancock's) pitcher mixed up his pitches well," said Federal manager Dan Dopson. "We had some mistakes that contributed to the loss but overall we put on a good show. Even though we had beaten them earlier, we knew it was still a good team."

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