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Clear Spring wants more flag waving

July 31, 2010|By TIM KOELBLE
  • The Clear Spring 9-10 have had much to celebrate while winning two tournament titles and advancing to the East All-Stars Regional.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Treasured memories. That's what the Clear Spring 9-10 All-Stars will gain when their latest Little League experience unfolds this weekend.

Nine straight wins have put championship flags for District 1 and state titles in Clear Spring -- flags that will eventually hang from the poles at its Little League complex.

Clear Spring carries the Maryland banner, beginning its journey at reaching another goal of winning the Eastern Regional on Sunday in an 11 a.m. contest against Delaware in pool play competition.

"We want to go there and come back and add another flag," said third baseman Ajay Yost.

All the action takes place at the John Chafee Athletic Complex in Cranston, R.I., a suburb of Providence. The schedule begins today with three games before Clear Spring hops into the fray Sunday. After an off day Monday, Clear Spring will play New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania on successive days in the Mid-Atlantic Division.

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The top two teams from the Mid-Atlantic and New England divisions will meet in the semifinals on Friday with the championship game set for Aug. 8.

Clear Spring came into the postseason with eight of its players having some sort of All-Star experience and 11 of the 12 players are 10-year-olds.

"We added some pieces to the puzzle," said manager Pete Lazich. "We had a goal of winning the districts first. We went into the tournament as blind as we are going into this one.

"You just don't know what you are going to go against in a regional. But you know you are going to go against some studs and see the best in Rhode Island."

Opponents might argue that Clear Spring has plenty of studs of its own.

In the nine games of district and state play, Clear Spring outscored the opposition 144-47. That's 16 runs per game and each of the five district wins were four-inning run-rule games.

"We jumped on teams right away and that was a key," said outfielder Dylan Altman, who said the upcoming trip will be the farthest away he's ever been from home. "We need to do that again in the regionals -- jump on teams right away."

Different players have stepped up during the contests.

Josh Colliflower pitched the clinching state game and homered; Altman had four hits and Yost homered in a win over Denton; Jaret Lazich had three hits and two RBIs against West Salisbury and a walk-off home run, ending a rally started by a Garrett Embley single -- to beat Northwest Washington.

"It was someone different all the time," said Pete Lazich, who looks at the pool play at a slightly different angle.

"You want to prepare your pitching to know where you will be in game 4 because we have four games in five days," he said. "You have to prepare the pitchers. They know they will be pitching."

Colliflower, Tyler Hill, Zach Hill, Embley and Jaret Lazich will be charged with mound duties.

"I always knew we had a good team," said Yost. "I know I don't have the speed, I just try to use my power. I think we've got the potential."

Win or lose, it's a long week in Cranston.

"I'm just proud to be their manager," said Pete Lazich. "This is a very good group of kids."

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