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Conococheague rolls into 9-10 state final

July 22, 2009

SALISBURY, Md. -- The Conococheague All-Stars wasted no time giving pitcher Isaac Schlotterbeck a cushion to work with Tuesday.

Conococheague scored eight runs in the top of the first inning, then -- as if that weren't enough -- put up 10 more in the third on its way to a 24-1 victory over East Frederick in the winners' bracket final of the Maryland State Little League Baseball 9-10 Tournament.

The run support was more than enough for Schlotterbeck, who allowed just one hit in 3 2/3 innings while striking out six.

"He's my ace and he's throwing the ball as well as anyone could throw it right now," said Conococheague manager Mick Byers. "No doubt it takes a big burden off of you when they score like that."

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Schlotterbeck reached his pitch limit before he could record the final out. Caden Keplinger struck out the final East Frederick hitter to end the game after four innings.

Schlotterbeck helped his own cause with a two-run home run in the top of the first. Trevor Knode and Robert Carr each added a two-run double in the inning.

"I was surprised that we put up eight in the first, but the way they've been patient at the plate, it didn't surprise me that we hit this well tonight," Byers said.

Conococheague had seven hits in the third inning alone, with Keplinger collecting a single and a two-run double.

East Frederick scored its only run in the third, but by that time Conococheague had already posted 21 runs, then tacked on three more in the fourth.

Levi Taylor had four hits, Keplinger, Knode and Schlotterbeck each had three and Carr, Jake Arnone and Gage Kyler had two apiece. Knode and Schlotterbeck each drove in four runs.

Conococheague, which won the 9-10 state title two years ago, has the day off today before playing in the championship round Thursday at 5:30 p.m. If Conococheague loses that game, a deciding game would be played Friday at 5:30.

"The kids are going to have a good time tonight and tomorrow with the day off, swim and do what they want and come back on Thursday," Byers said. "When we find out who we play, we'll start making plans, but we're not going to worry about it until then."

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