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Shank's shot leads the way

July 08, 2010|By KYLE RAIOS/Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT -- Casey Shank went with the feeling.

Shank hit a three-run home run to straightaway center field to spark a seven-run fifth inning on Wednesday and lead Conococheague to a 9-2 victory over Valley in the Maryland District 1 Junior League Tournament.

Conococheague advances to the championship round on Saturday. Valley will face the winner of Wednesday's Hancock-Maugansville game on Friday with the winner advancing to face Conococheague.

"I had to do it," Shank said. "I knew I had to do something for the team, and I knew it was gone as soon as I hit it."

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Until then, the two teams played to mirror images of each other.

Valley scored a run in the top of the first on an RBI single by Brandon Butrick.

Conococheague struck right back in the bottom of the inning with a run-scoring single by Shank.

Conococheague took the lead in the third when Tyler Martin singled and eventually worked his way around the bases on Valley errors for a 2-1 lead.

The score remained until Shank provided his big blast with two on and one out in the fifth.

Cracking the mirror didn't give Conococheague seven years of bad luck. Instead, it started the decisive rally. Two hits, two walks and two errors helped helped provide the other four runs for all the offense Conococheague needed.

Bryan Tracy gave Valley a glimmer of hope in the sixth by crushing a shot over the right-field fence, but it didn't last.

"Shank's home run definitely got us going," Conococheague manager Jamie Martin said. " But defense was key. Guys were moved around all over the place and they made great plays. ... Smooth and calm."

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