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Maugansville wins Senior tournament

July 09, 2010|By TIM KOELBLE
  • Maugansville's Alijah Benson (2) slides into home plate for a run as Conococheague catcher Kenny Smith tries to find the ball in the third inning of Thursday night's Maryland District 1 Senior League championship game.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

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    MAUGANSVILLE -- Conococheague just couldn't contain Alijah Benson. It couldn't hit Nathan Murray, either.

    Benson gave Conococheague fits everywhere and Murray nearly went the distance as Maugansville won the Maryland District 1 Senior League Tournament championship with a decisive 10-1 verdict Thursday night.

    It's the second straight District 1 title for Maugansville, which will travel to Cambridge, Md., for the state tournament beginning July 25 against the District 7 champion.

    "(Benson) was in a little slump, so I challenged him," said Maugansville manager Dan Dopson. "We moved him down one spot to second in the batting order. When he is on, he gives us a lot of options and puts pressure on the other team and their defense."

    Benson had three hits, including a two-run home run in the top of the seventh, and scored four times.

    He set the table in the first with a single, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on an error. In the third, he made it 3-1 when he led off with an infield single that he beat out, stole second and then raced home on a passed ball.

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In the fifth, he was hit by a pitch leading off, stole second, moved to third on a pop fly, and as it squirted four feet away from the third baseman, raced home with a run that made it 6-1.

"This was the best I've ever seen (Benson)," said Conococheague manager Rick Aleshire. "As a team, Maugansville was too much for us."

Conococheague had back-to-back doubles by Brett Barr and Tyler Byers in the bottom of the first to make it a 1-1 game, but Murray got on a roll after that.

At one point Murray retired 13 of 14 batters. In the fourth inning he used only six pitches, and in the fifth he needed only 10.

He nearly had a complete game, but Kenny Smith's two-out single in the seventh pushed Murray past the 95-pitch count. He allowed only six hits, struck out eight and didn't walk his lone batter until he gave a pass to Ricky Long in the seventh.

"My fastball was working around the corners and I used my curveball and slider," said Murray, who said he started to tire in the seventh. "I just had the mindset to throw the ball. I have so much confidence in my defense."

Maugansville's Scott Boppe hit an RBI groundout in the second inning, Colby Waugh and C.J. Owings had RBI singles in the fourth and Mike Churchey added two hits.

Churchey started a four-run uprising in the seventh with a double and scored on a pair of wild pitches. After Owings walked, Benson slammed a home run to left center.

Tyler Byers started for Conococheague and gave up six runs on six hits through five innings. He walked none and struck out five before Hunter Eyler relieved in the sixth.

Barr had two of Conococheague's hits and also sent a drive to center which Owings made a fine catch on -- one of several good defensive plays by Maugansville.

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