Feast fit for kings

Conococheague feeds appetite for winning with 11-12 state title

Conococheague feeds appetite for winning with 11-12 state title

July 31, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

WALDORF, Md. -- The Cubs have their famine. The Red Sox had theirs. But after 49 years, Conococheague's 11-12 All-Star famine is over.

For the first time since 1961, Conococheague is the Maryland 11-12 state champion after posting an 8-1 victory over Hughesville on Friday night at Stetham Park.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," said a water-logged manager Mike Iseminger following the win.

And it's one players, coaches and parents will all share as they prepare for the next leg of the journey.

Conococheague advances to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament in Bristol, Conn., beginning Friday with a game against Delaware at 11 a.m. to open pool play.

Until then, Friday's win is worth savoring and gives team members a chance to sleep in their own beds for a few nights.


After a lackluster start, Conococheague's bats came alive in the bottom of the third against Hughesville pitcher Simeon Spruill.

Jordan Stonebreaker had a one-out double and scored on Jordan Buchanan's home run for a 2-1 lead. Wyatt Scriever followed with a double and J.J. Cooper cranked a two-run shot to center for a 4-1 lead.

"They were calling tough pitches for strikes," said Buchanan. "I was just looking for a fastball like always."

Cooper seemed surprised by his shot.

"It was a fastball. I didn't think it would go out," he said, "Then, I thought 'Ooops, there it goes.'"

Riley Arnone cracked a home run in the fifth inning for a 5-1 lead. Sinjin Shoop followed with a single to end Spruill's night.

Hughesville wasted scoring opportunities in each of the first two innings to ruin any chance of forcing a final championship game today.

Hughesville left the bases loaded without scoring in the first against Scriever.

In the second, Scriever walked three successive batters before a fielder's choice plated a run. Then, Hughesville ran itself out of the inning when Kyle Hardy tried to catch Conococheague napping. He was gunned down for the third out while trying to race to third.

"Those definitely were the keys to the game," said Iseminger. "We were fortunate that they did not score and then they hurt themselves in the second."

Scriever struggled through the first two innings with four walks, but toughened up through the next 2 2/3 innings. He finished with five strikeouts and no additional walks to keep Conococheague in the game until the bats came around.

"My changeup was good. I went to the windup and my pitches became more efficient," said Scriever. "I just went out and forgot about the early innings."

"(Wyatt) sometimes has a tendency to get down on himself but tonight he didn't," said Iseminger. "We just told him to get fired up."

Conococheague went to work against Hughesville reliever Brett Kanzen for three runs in the fifth.

Cooper and Collin McVicker each singled and Colby Byers drove in Cooper with a single. Arnone, who finished with three hits and three RBIs, blasted a first-pitch double to score McVicker and Byers.

Arnone closed out the game in relief after Scriever reached his pitch limit. Arnone went 1 1/3 innings with a strikeout.

Conococheague pounded out 14 hits, including two each by Shoop, Stonebreaker and Cooper. All the starters had at least one hit.

Iseminger was happy with the productivity.

"We got some hits from the bottom of the lineup and that's what we need," he said.

NOTE: Tim Koelble has also blogged on today's event.

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