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Clear Spring celebrates state championship

9-10 All-Stars defeat Denton in tourney final

July 22, 2010|By TIM KOELBLE
  • Clear Spring pitcher Josh Colliflower strides toward the plate with an offering during Thursday's Maryland 9-10 Little League State Tournament championship game.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

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    BOONSBORO -- Though they're prohibited from use during games, airhorns and other noisemakers rang out in abundance at South Mountain Little League after Thursday night's contest.

    Clear Spring fans made the ruckus after their boys made noise on the field, defeating a tired Denton team 10-3 to capture the Maryland 9-10 state championship.

    With its ninth straight win through district and state competition, Clear Spring advanced to the Eastern Regional, representing Maryland. Clear Spring will open play at Cranston, R.I., on Aug. 1 against Delaware at 11 a.m.

    Clear Spring wasted no time jumping to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. From that point, Josh Colliflower kept Denton's bats at bay.

    Colliflower fell just short of a complete game, toiling through 5 2/3 innings before reaching his pitch count limit of 75. He left leading 10-1, allowing only two hits, walking three and striking out three.

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"I felt confident and my four-seam fastball was working well," said Colliflower, who also pitched Clear Spring to a 12-2 win over Denton last Sunday in five innings. "We went out and played our hardest. I just wanted to throw strikes and we had a good defense."

After Denton scored a run in the second, Colliflower retired 10 in a row before issuing a walk in the fifth.

He benefitted from several good defensive stops behind him, including a snazzy fielding gem by shortshop Jaret Lazich on a hot ground ball.

"When we put this team together, we said we weren't going into the districts just to play," said manager Pete Lazich. "We thought we could win the districts.

"To win the state, we had a lot of guys on different nights step up. (Garrett) Embly had a big win Monday against West Salisbury that really helped our pitching plans. And people like Joe Micco. Never had he caught a game until the district and state. He did a great job."

Denton, playing its sixth game in six nights as the losers' bracket winner, had five ineligible pitchers and hoped to catch a stroke of luck to get to a deciding game tonight in which its staff would be refreshed.

It did not happen.

A Conner Michael single in between two walks loaded the bases, and an error scored one run before an RBI single by Ajay Yost and two-run single by Tyler Hill gave Clear Spring a 4-0 lead as Denton pitcher Josh Laidley labored through 43 pitches.

The fast start was what the doctor ordered as far as Pete Lazich was concerned.

"That was our game plan knowing that we've been a good-hitting team," he said. "I'm never surprised when we start off like that."

Yost drove in two more runs in the second for a 6-0 lead, and Colliflower took center stage in the third at the plate.

Dylan Altman had an RBI single, and after an error, Colliflower banged a fastball deep to dead center for a three-run home run and a 10-1 lead.

"It was a fastball that was a little outside," said Colliflower. "I knew it was gone."

Morgan Loetz replaced Laidley after the homer and successfully quieted Clear Spring over the final 3 1/3 innings without a hit, but the damage had been done.

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