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National keeps knocking 'em out

Victory gives 9-10 All-Stars losers' bracket title, date with Clear Spring in final

July 03, 2010|By TIM KOELBLE
  • The National 9-10 All-Stars celebrate their 14-7 victory over Valley in the losers' bracket final Saturday afternoon at Valley.
By Kelly Hahn Johnson, Staff Photographer

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    CHEWSVILLE -- National successfully completed the road through the losers' bracket in the Maryland District 1 9-10 Little League Tournament on Saturday.

    Having been sent to the losers' bracket on June 26 in a four-inning 14-4 loss to Valley, National returned the favor in the losers' bracket final, knocking off Valley 14-7.

    National reaches the championship round and will visit Clear Spring on Monday at 6 p.m. If National wins, it will host a final game against Clear Spring on Tuesday at 6.

    "We are honored to reach the championship game," said National manager David Hutzler. "This is so good for the kids how they came through this week."

    It was the fifth straight win for National -- all in the losers' bracket in the last week -- and the previous four had left the team without any top-of-the-line pitching heading into Saturday's important game.

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But the chosen two -- Cody Crawford and Timmy Townsend -- came through with flying colors, along with an offense that erupted for seven runs in the fourth inning to erase a 7-5 Valley lead.

Crawford threw 25 pitches in an earlier tournament game, while it was Townsend's first pitching experience and he was even questionable after having been hit around the left eye by a fly ball in the outfield during batting practice.

"We went with our instincts on who to start and chose Cody because he's level-headed and does not get rattled," said Hutzler. "And we knew Timmy could throw hard."

Crawford went the first four innings, and only two of the seven runs he allowed were earned as National made four errors. He walked only two and struck out four.

Townsend came in and escaped trouble in the fifth when Valley failed to score with runners at second and third with none out, then finished off the sixth when Mark Moholt hit into a game-ending double play.

Valley, thinking ahead to a possible date with Clear Spring, used four pitchers.

Starter Dylan Eyler allowed four runs (none earned) in the first two innings, throwing 35 pitches. Moholt followed for 20 pitches and Andrew Mathias came in after Crawford doubled off Moholt to open the fourth.

Four walks, three hits and an error later, National had a 12-7 lead, capped by Dawson Hottinger's drilled two-run single.

Shawn Vinson hit a two-run double in the bottom of the fifth, one of National's 12 hits.

"This was our best game of the tournament hitting the ball," said Hutzler.

Hottinger, Townsend, Vinson and Trevor Custer had two hits apiece for National.

Chase Metz, Chris Martin, Gavin Shubert and Eyler each had two hits as part of Valley's 11-hit attack.

"In any game, but even more so in this one, errors always kill you," said Valley manager Mike Mathias. "We should have hit their pitchers better but just didn't get the hits in the fifth and sixth. But our kids did a great job in the tournament."

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