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Young gun lifts Conococheague

July 26, 2009

WALDORF, Md. -- Colby Byers may be young, but he isn't restless.

He can hold his own with a bunch of 12-year-olds.

Byers led off the third inning with a double, igniting a six-run rally to lift the Conococheague All-Stars to a 8-5 victory over Brunswick on Sunday in the winners' bracket of the Maryland State 11-12 Little League Baseball Tournament.

The victory advances Conococheague into the winners' bracket final against tournament host Hughesville on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The winner of that game will get a free pass into the championship round, which begins on Thursday.

Conococheague trailed 3-2 heading into the bottom of the third. Byers, the only 11-year-old on the team and its No. 9 hitter, led off the inning with a double that gave Conococheague a needed jolt.

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"I think that got them fired up," Conococheague manager Mike Iseminger said. "He is the youngest guy on the team and he doubled to lead off the third. It was the hit that got us started."

Byers stole third while Riley Arnone was drawing a walk. Sinjin Shoop followed with an RBI single to tie the game. From there, it was all gravy.

Jordan Stonebreaker hit a two-run double and Michael Kelbaugh and Wyatt Scriever followed with RBI triples, with Scriever coming in by via an error to give Conococheague an 8-3 lead.

Scriever pitched into the fifth inning for Conococheague, allowing three runs on three hits while walking five and striking out eight. Arnone came on to finish the game, getting five of the six outs with strikeouts and using a heads-up play to end the game.

Brunswick scored twice in the fifth to close to within 8-5 and had the tying run at the plate with two outs in the sixth. Arnone had the ball and was heading to the mound when he caught the runner at second off the base and threw to pick him off to end the game.

"The kid was trying to steal third and Arnone got him," Iseminger said.

Jordan Buchanan gave Conococheague a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first with a two-run home run. Brunswick scored single runs in each of the first three innings to take the 3-2 lead.

Shoop had two hits in Conococheague's eight-hit attack.

The win puts Conococheague exactly where it wanted to be.

"You keep winning and it keeps your pitching where you want it," Iseminger said. "We can go to the top of the pitching rotation for Hughesville and then have Scriever and Arnone back for Thursday."

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