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Homers help Halfway hold on to a 10-11 victory

July 19, 2010|By WILL ROBINSON/Staff Correspondent

Halfway smashed three two-run home runs and survived a late rally by Elkton on Sunday for a 9-8 victory in the Maryland 10-11 Little League State Tournament winners' bracket semifinals at West End Little League.

Halfway will face Delmar tonight at 6 in the winners' bracket final.

Both teams scored four runs in the first inning. Elkton's Austin Ross hit a three-run homer in the top half, and Halfway's Mike McCook hit his own three-run shot in the bottom half.

Blake Gooden scored Gavin Thompson with an RBI single to give Halfway a 5-4 advantage in the fourth.

The lead quickly evaporated in the fifth, as three hits combined with three Halfway errors put Elkton up 7-5.

"I was getting mad because I was throwing a few bad pitches, but I stuck it out," said Halfway pitcher Donnie Travis.

Despite its struggles in top of the frame, Halfway turned it on in the bottom half to retake the lead, 9-7. Bryse Showe tied the game with a two-run homer to right, and John Bennett put Halfway ahead with a two-run blast of his own.

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"I didn't think it was going to make it over," said Bennett. "But as soon as it did I thought to myself, 'We're going to win this.'"

"I was telling them to find something they could handle and drive it," said Halfway manager Mike Gooden. "We have a disciplined hitting team, and my boys never gave up."

Elkton nearly made the most of its last chance in the sixth. Jack Stewart stole home to cut the lead to one, but Travis struck out Ross to cap a complete-game performance with six strikeouts.

"Hats off to Donnie for getting us a complete six innings," said Gooden. "That was a fantastic, Randy Johnson-like performance."

* In the second game Sunday, Delmar fell behind Northern Calvert 9-3 through three innings, but two big innings fueled the comeback for a 14-11 victory and a spot in today's winners' bracket final.

Delmar rallied for four runs in the fourth, including RBI singles by Dylan Barlow and Trey Lecates, to cut the deficit to 9-7.

The floodgates opened in the fifth, as Delmar produced another six runs. Austin Rhodes hit a two-run single and Christian Littleton added a two-run double.

"They just played as a team and picked each other up," said Delmar coach Dewayne Austin.

Littleton pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to help seal the victory.

"I had no pitching left, and I called on Littleton, who never pitched an All-Star game in his life, and he gives us scoreless relief in a state game," said Austin. "We can't thank him enough."

* In a losers' bracket game late Sunday, East Frederick eliminated Home Run Baker, 20-5.

Joe McNulty had three hits and Sean Jodrie, Travis Creney, Tim Kuhens and Justin Longest each added two hits for East Frederick, which will face Elkton in a losers' bracket game this afternoon at 4.

Brandon Kerrigan had three hits and Bobby Stacey added two hits for Home Run Baker.

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