Ruppenthal, Halfway near peak at Valley

July 14, 2010|By BRETT NIEVES/Staff Correspondent
  • Valley catcher Joe Schwartz reacts after Halfway runner Brandon Gooden was called safe at home in the fourth inning of Tuesday's Maryland District 1 11-12 Little League Tournament game.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

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CHEWSVILLE -- Halfway's Bryce Ruppenthal started the game just as he finished -- throwing strikes.

Ruppenthal pitched a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts Tuesday as Halfway defeated Valley 11-1 in four innings in the losers' bracket final of the Maryland District 1 11-12 Little League Tournament.

"(Ruppenthal) gets better as he goes," Halfway manager Les Martin said. "He's one of the best in the county."

Ruppenthal struck out six of the first eight batters he faced Tuesday.

"I felt pretty good out there," said Ruppenthal, who allowed two walks. "I was just using my fastball and my changeup."

Halfway helped Ruppenthal on offense, connecting for 13 hits -- including two home runs.

Valley began the scoring in the first when Joe Schwartz smacked a home run to center field for a 1-0 lead.

Halfway took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first when Matt Malphurs singled in a run, Brandon Gooden doubled home Malphurs and Ryan Downes hit a solo homer.


"We came out hitting as good as we could," Martin said. "Having (Ruppenthal) on the mound makes it easier, too."

Ruppenthal struck out the side in the top of the second, and Halfway tacked on a run in the bottom half of the inning on a John Davies RBI single.

Halfway added four runs in the third for an 8-1 lead. Downes had an RBI groundout, Tanner Canfield hit a two-run homer and Zach Andrews had an RBI single.

Valley was shut down again in the fourth by Ruppenthal and then fell apart defensively in the bottom of the inning.

"Ruppenthal pitched a heck of a game tonight, I've got to hand it to him," Vally manager Damon Huntzberry said. "They deserved to win. They were the better team tonight."

Halfway scored three runs in the fourth -- on two Vally errors -- to end the game.

Halfway will play at Conococheague tonight at 6 in the championship round. Conococheague is a victory away from the district title, while Halfway would need to beat Conococheague twice to win it.

"We're getting some momentum now," Martin said. "We're having fun."

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