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Halfway shocks Berlin

Davies' grand slam caps 8-run sixth in walk-off fashion

July 29, 2010
  • Halfway's Matt Malphurs is congratulated by teammates after hitting a home run against Berlin in Wednesday's Maryland 11-12 Little League State Tournament at West Salisbury Little League.
photo by Matthew S. Gunby, Salisbury Daily Times

SALISBURY, Md. -- Trailing 8-1 in the fourth inning and facing elimination from the Maryland State Tournament on Wednesday night, the Halfway 11-12 All-Stars made a comeback for the ages to reach the championship round.

John Davies capped an eight-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning with a walk-off grand slam, giving Halfway a 13-9 victory over Berlin in the losers' bracket final at West Salisbury Little League.

"We had a lot of timely hits, and that dugout erupted when he hit that walk-off," Halfway manager Mike Gooden said. "It was a magical, magical moment."

Halfway will face Brunswick tonight at 5:30 in the championship round. Halfway -- which lost to Brunswick 5-1 in the winners' bracket final on Tuesday -- has to defeat Brunswick tonight and again on Friday to win the state title and advance to the Mid-Atlantic Regional in Bristol, Conn.

"We have decent arms available, and our bats are picking the right time to heat up," Gooden said. "Our kids have battled all year, and this is just another battle."

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Ryan Downes' RBI single gave Halfway a 1-0 lead in the first inning, before Berlin scored eight straight runs to build a seven-run advantage through the middle of the fourth.

Halfway used some timely hits -- including Matt Malphurs' home run -- and aggressive base running to cut the lead to 9-5 through the fifth, setting up the sixth-inning barrage.

Downes' two-run homer made it 9-8. After two walks and a single loaded the bases, Austin Sigler tied it with an RBI single before Davies' dramatic slam.

"These kids, it seems it takes us to have our backs against the wall for them to come out fighting," Gooden said. "When we have our backs to the wall we play our best ball, and the kids refuse to lose."

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