Conococheague stays alive, beats D.C.

August 10, 2009|By JOHNNY J. BURNHAM/Special to The Herald-Mail

o Box score

BRISTOL, Conn. -- In what boiled down to a do-or-die game for Conococheague Little League, the boys from Williamsport came up with their best game of the Mid-Atlantic Regional thus far.

On the strength of four extra base hits - two doubles and two home runs - and a strong pitching performance from Blake Harne, the Conococheague All-Stars were able to pick up that elusive first win, defeating the District of Columbia 11-0 in a game that lasted only four innings.

Manager Mike Iseminger said that his team never lost confidence despite starting the tournament with two losses. That, at least in Harne's opinion, was the key to victory.


"We came out positive that we would win this game," he said. "To do it was great."

It didn't take long for that Conococheague confidence to show as it jumped on top in the first.

Sinjin Shoop got the offense started for the Maryland champions, lining a one-out double over the head of Ryan Donnellan in right. A few pitches later, Riley Arnone slapped a bounding ball to short that went for an infield single.

But it turned out better than just Arnone hustling his way aboard. The throw from the D.C. infielder sailed well high of its target, allowing Shoop to cross the plate and give Conococheague a 1-0 lead.

It turned out to be a lead that was never relinquished, only expanded.

An RBI fielder's choice ground out off the bat of Jordan Buchanan doubled the Conococheague advantage before the first inning came to a close.

In the second, after displaying great control, D.C. starter Vincent Anninos suddenly had trouble finding the plate and loaded the bases with three straight walks.

Anninos regained his composure, getting Shoop to hit a grounder to second, but the ball trickled through the second baseman's legs and into right field, scoring both Harne and Colby Byers and extending the lead to 4-0.

That four-run advantage became eight in the third.

Conococheague tallied four hits in the frame, the biggest coming off the bat of Wyatt Scriever. The team's No. 5 hitter blasted a towering two-run homer that landed well-beyond the fence in center.

It was the second home run of the tournament for Scriever, who's hitting .375 with three RBIs in three games in Bristol.

"I just try to take a deep breath and try to relax," Scriever said of his approach at the plate. "I look for a pitch in a good spot and try and hit the ball."

With the score 9-0 and one out in the bottom of the fourth, C.J. Henson made sure that the 10-run rule came into effect, taking a pitch from D.C. reliever Tommy Crittenberger and placing it into the bleachers in left-center field to bring the contest to a close.

The team's offensive awakening didn't come as a surprise to Iseminger.

"We've been playing solid. We've been hitting the ball well, but it's just been right at people before today," Iseminger said. "But today the offense really got going."

Harne was happy to see the offensive outburst: He was making his first start in All-Star play this year.

"I felt a little nervous at first," Harne said. "But after the first, I was ready to go."

Harne allowed just two hits, struck out five and didn't walk a single batter to pick up the ever-important win.

It's a win that everyone wearing a Maryland jersey fully believes is just the first in a long line of victories still to come.

"I'm very confident, especially after this win," Harne said.

With a day off before Wednesday's final pool-play game, Iseminger said that his pitching staff will be lined up nicely in order to give Pennsylvania all it can handle and hopefully advance to the next round. A loss to the Pennsylvania state champions would end Conococheague's stay in Connecticut.

Scriever doesn't expect that to happen.

"I think that we have a chance to advance," he said. "I can't wait to get the chance to play New York and Delaware again."

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