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Crisci's bat helps South Mountain get ahead

July 09, 2010|By BOB PARASILITI

Matt Crisci is a smart baseball player, but he would rather use his bat than his head.

The South Mountain third baseman's head gets laughs. His bat gets home runs.

Crisci went from a header to a headliner with one swing of the bat on Thursday as his first-inning three-run home run started South Mountain to a 13-3 victory over West End in a Maryland District 1 11-12 Little League Tournament losers' bracket game.

South Mountain will travel to Maugansville tonight at 6.

Crisci looked like he was playing for Spain in the World Cup instead of for South Mountain. He stood in the batter's box with two on and one out in the first when he leaned into Dante Harper's 2-2 pitch and took it off the top of his helmet.

"I thought he was going to throw a curve and it didn't break," Crisci said.

The umpires met and called the pitch a ball because Crisci didn't make an attempt to evade the pitch. Harper's next pitch was lined over the fence to center for the homer and a 3-0 lead.

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"It hit me and they didn't allow me to take first base. It didn't bother me," Crisci said. "I'm glad they didn't."

South Mountain coach Brad Keller said the whole incident fit Crisci's character.

"He's fearless and he believes in his ability," Keller said. "Sometimes he tries to do too much, but he's one of the best players in the district."

South Mountain capitalized on everything West End gave it. West End committed eight errors, which made eight of South Mountain's 13 runs unearned on its way to elimination from the tournament.

"The loss (Tuesday night to Valley) was gut-wrenching," Keller said. "We are in the losers' bracket now, but we have been there before and made a great run. We are going to have to battle. The guys came out and took care of business today."

West End got two runs back in the top of the second on an RBI grounder by Richard Elliott and a run-scoring single by Mike Shatzer to creep within 3-2.

South Mountain added three runs in its half of the second as Nathan Saunders led off with a double and scored on Blake Daugherty's grounder. Walks and two West End errors helped create South Mountain's 6-2 lead.

The lead grew to 10-2 in the third as three more West End errors and Devin Griffith's RBI grounder fueled a four-run rally.

Glenn Randolph doubled and Harper singled to move West End within 10-3 in the fourth.

The game bizarrely ended in the fifth as Daugherty singled and took second on a wild pitch before Griffith's RBI double. Eric Brabson drove in the final nail when his fly ball was dropped for an error, allowing Griffith to score. Brabson came all the way around from second when the throw home got away from the catcher.

"Eric is a unsung hero on this team," Keller said. "He is probably the best athlete on the team."

Daugherty led South Mountain with three of the team's six hits.

"We have to hit the ball more," Keller said. "Our defense can be outstanding. We have a group of 12-year-old infielders who can really play. We have to get our pitchers to throw to contact and trust them to do the job behind them."

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