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Gooden, Downes fuel Halfway

July 13, 2010|By DAN KAUFFMAN
  • South Mountain's Jeremy Hardy connects for a hit against Halfway on Monday.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

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HALFWAY -- Brandon Gooden and Ryan Downes formed a formidable 1-2 punch for Halfway on Monday night.

Gooden homered, doubled, singled and drove in six runs, while Downes homered, tripled, singled and drove in four in Halfway's 19-9 victory over South Mountain in the Maryland District 1 11-12 Little League Tournament losers' bracket semifinal at Nicholas James Adenhart Field.

Halfway will travel to Valley tonight at 6 for the losers' bracket final. The winner will travel to face Conococheague on Wednesday at 6 in the championship round.

"(Halfway) has a great offense," South Mountain manager Brad Keller said. "Valley better stock up on baseballs because there may be a bunch lost tomorrow."

Halfway lost to Valley 4-3 in the winners' bracket semifinals last week.

"We've really hit the ball well in this tournament," Halfway manager Les Martin said. "It's just one game we didn't. ... They're pumped (to play Valley). They're ready to go. I'm sure they'd like to go over there right now with the momentum they've got."

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Halfway got off to a flying start with four runs in the top of the first inning. Gooden hit a two-run double to left and Downes followed with a towering two-run homer to left center.

South Mountain answered with two runs in the bottom of the first on Eric Brabson's two-run single to center.

Halfway made it 7-2 in the second, all the runs coming after a throwing error with two outs. Matt Malphurs followed with a bloop single before Gooden launched a three-run homer to center.

A seven-run third gave Halfway a 14-2 lead. Billy Miller and Zack Andrews hit RBI singles, and Downes and Tanner Canfield each hit two-run triples to the right-field corner.

South Mountain held off losing by the 10-run rule with three runs in the bottom of the third on Matt Crisci's two-run homer to left center and Logan Taulton's line-drive homer to right center to make it 14-5.

South Mountain then scored four runs in the fourth to make things interesting at 14-9. Halfway would have finished a 1-2-3 inning without a fielding error, but the mistake led to Crisci's three-run homer -- a huge blast more than 50 feet past the fence to left that gave him five for the tournament -- before Taulton doubled and Cory Woodhams and Dillon Denig followed with singles to bring Taulton home.

"We've got some kids who battle," Keller said. "Denig breaks his nose (against Federal on Saturday) and he comes up tonight and rips one. We've got a dugout full of kids who can play a little bit."

Halfway scored three in the fifth and two in the sixth to put the game away. Gooden, Justin Mitchell and Miller hit RBI singles in the fifth, and wild pitches scored both runs in the sixth after Bryce Ruppenthal singled and Malphurs doubled.

"I told them going in, if we give them runs, we've got to get them right back," Martin said. "We had an error cost us four runs and I started chewing my nails."

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