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Conococheague takes joy ride with District crown

July 17, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

WILLIAMSPORT -- One of the first perks Conococheague's 11-12 All-Stars received as District 1 champions on Friday night was a special ride around Williamsport -- not just in a family car caravan but on a Williamsport Volunteer Fire Company truck.

The team and coaches climbed along the top of the truck for a noisy tour through town to begin celebrating their 12-2 win over West End at Ebersole Field to claim the first district championship for Conococheague since 1974.

"At the beginning of the year I thought we could be at this point," said Conococheague manager Mike Iseminger. "In the tournament, I was worried about Valley and Hancock."

Most of the players on the team gained state tournament experience as champions on the 9-10 level, but they realize much more is at stake in the 11-12 division.

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"There's more at stake like the regions," said Sinjin Shoop, who had two hits and scored three runs on Friday. "We just have to play to our potential."

West End couldn't get Jordan Stonebreaker out on Friday as he went 3-for-3 with a homer, two singles, a walk, three runs scored and three RBIs.

"I got some good swings in," said Stonebreaker. "We're excited about winning the district but the 11-12 is bigger. We've got players that don't give up and have heart. We've got arms and bats."

Wyatt Scriever was the winning pitcher with nine strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

"Winning the 9-10 was exciting, but now we want to win 11-12 and go farther."

Conococheague seeks to repeat what Federal Little League did last year by advancing to the Little League World Series.

The next stop on that path begins in the state tournament July 25 at Stetham Park in Waldorf.

Iseminger said the team would practice until Thursday, take the day off Friday and head to Waldorf.

Except for more being at stake, Iseminger should not have any trouble keeping things in perspective with his players.

"We've got some things to clean up in practice to get ready for the next level," said Iseminger.

West End manager Billy Nutter had praise not only for Conococheague after two healthy losses, but for his own team.

"We weren't supposed to be here at this game," said Nutter. "We were supposed to be done in two, or three games. But none of my kids quit."

Finals representation

With the 11-12 championship game, it was a clean sweep in terms of appearances in a title game this year for Conococheague.

The Williamsport league went 2-2 in those finals as the 9-10 team also made it to the Maryland State Tournament, while the Junior and Senior teams were defeated.

The 9-10 team opens state tournament play today against South Caroline.

"Over the years we've had such a good league, from the president all the way down to the coaches and players," said Iseminger.

You make the call

The volunteer umpiring crew for Friday's game has made a few calls over the years.

Dave Grams manned the plate and Denny Hockensmith, Phil Baker and Rich Ross were on the bases.

The foursome has 130 years of Little League umpiring experience and have called approximately 5,000 games.

The rain didn't hurt

Despite an afternoon rain, Ebersole Field's infield was covered and in especially good condition following the work of the several individuals to spiff it up.

And the rain did not keep the spectators away. The grandstands and the hillside from left to right in the outfield were well-populated and it reflected in the 50-50 raffle.

The winning ticketholder took home $1,065.

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