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Halfway robbery

Game-changing catch sparks Valley in winners' bracket victory

July 10, 2010|By BOB PARASILITI
  • Halfway's Zach Andrews fields the baseball in the outfield during Friday's game against Valley.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer,

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HALFWAY -- If Devin Robinson was a fisherman, he would have been credited with the catch of the day.

Instead, the center fielder may have made the grab of the Valley 11-12 All-Stars' tournament.

Robinson's grab of Zach Andrews' potential three-run homer at the fence in dead center field not only ended the second inning on Friday but it paved the way to Valley's 4-3 victory over host Halfway in the Maryland District 1 Tournament.

"Devin is one of our subs," said Valley manager Damon Huntzberry. "I told him he may not play the whole game, but he made the play of the game for us."

Valley travels to Conococheague today at 6 p.m. to play the winners' bracket final. Halfway hosts Clear Spring today at 2 in a losers' bracket game.

Halfway took a 1-0 lead in the second as Matt Malphurs led off with a home run to center off Valley starter Austin Jones. Halfway had runners on second and third with two outs for Andrews.

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Andrews hit a solid shot to center that Robinson looked up at and judged it as another home run. But after a second glance, he went back and pulled the ball back from over the fence with a catch that left him draped slightly over the top rail.

"When he first hit it, I thought it was out," Robinson said. "Then I decided to try for it. I went after it because there was too much air under it. As I went back, I wasn't sure where the fence was. I jumped and when I came down I looked into my glove and saw I caught it."

Robinson kept Halfway from taking a 4-0 lead and came to the dugout to a series of bumps, of the fist and chest variety. Then Valley bumped Halfway.

"I thought it was out, but that's (Devin)," said Huntzberry. "That was a big lift. I told the kids, 'It's go time. It's time to get our bats out and get going.'"

Valley responded with three runs in the top of the third. Tyler Olson and Cole Huntzberry led off with singles and advanced on wild pitches before scoring on Joe Schwartz's two-run single. Schwartz advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Jones' grounder.

"I thought this was going to be a hitting game and it became a pitching game," said Halfway manager Les Martin. "That catch ... it was definitely a big momentum changer for them."

Halfway managed to get a run back in the bottom of the third when Bryce Ruppenthal led off with a single and scored when Ryan Downes followed with a single and error.

From there, the game was turned over to the pitchers. Jones and Halfway starter Tanner Canfield both settled down. Jones lasted 3 1/3 innings before reaching his pitch limit and allowed one earned run on five hits while striking out five. Canfield did the same over four innings.

Halfway had a chance to tie the game in the fourth, putting runners on second and third as Jones reached his limit. Cole Huntzberry came on to close the inning with a strikeout en route to finishing the game.

"We pitched well," Damon Huntzberry said. "Austin and Cole gave us a great start."

Schwartz gave Valley insurance with a one-out home run in the fifth.

"One of the sayings in Little League is 'It's not how you score them, it's when you score them,'" Martin said. "Momentum-wise, if we would have got up 4-0, it would have been different. Still, we had opportunities and didn't use them. Now we will have to see what we are made of."

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