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Clear Spring feeling 'snakebit'

New Jersey pulls out 6-5 victory in 8 innings at 9-10 regional tourney

August 04, 2010
  • Clear Spring 9-10 All-Stars shortstop Jaret Lazich steps on second base before throwing to first to complete a double play in the third inning of Tuesday's game against Ramsey, N.J., at the Eastern Regional Invitational.
photo by William Geoghegan, The Cranston Herald

CRANSTON, R.I. -- Clear Spring Little League 9-10 All-Stars manager Pete Lazich said his team felt "a little snakebit" after a second straight heartbreaking loss at the Eastern Regional Invitational on Tuesday.

Ryan Vatcher's two-out, two-run double in the top of the eighth inning gave New Jersey state champion Ramsey Little League a 6-5 victory over Clear Spring, the Maryland state champion.

The loss comes on the heels of Clear Spring's 1-0 setback to Delaware (1-1) on Sunday and leaves Clear Spring 0-2 with two more Mid-Atlantic pool play games left.

"We felt a little snakebit. It was one of those games that we weren't meant to win the game," Lazich said. "We had opportunities. Both teams played great defensively. (New Jersey) made a lot of tough outs. We hit the ball hard and they made the plays. At a different level, those balls get through, but up here they don't."

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Clear Spring will play New York (2-1) today at 5 p.m. The top two teams in the Mid-Atlantic pool of five teams will meet in the regional semifinals Friday, and it's looking like a long shot for Clear Spring to qualify. Clear Spring's best possible finish is 2-2, and New York and New Jersey (2-1) already have two wins each.

Clear Spring took a 1-0 lead against New Jersey in the first inning when Jaret Lazich doubled and took third and home on passed balls. Clear Spring made it 2-0 in the third when Lazich doubled again, went to third on Dylan Altman's sacrifice bunt and scored on Conner Michael's RBI double.

Tyler Hill pitched a scoreless first three innings for Clear Spring before New Jersey tied the game in the fourth on a walk, a single and a two-run double.

New Jersey took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth on a hit batter, a walk, a single and a sacrifice fly. Clear Spring made it 3-3 in the bottom half when Joe Micco was hit by a pitch, Altman singled and Josh Colliflower hit an RBI single.

New Jersey made it 4-3 in the top of the sixth on a hit batter, a passed ball that moved the runner to second, and an RBI single.

Clear Spring forced extra innings in the bottom of the sixth when Zach Greenlee walked, took second and third on passed balls and scored on Hill's sacrifice fly.

After a scoreless seventh, New Jersey broke through in the eighth on two walks and Vatcher's game-winning double.

Clear Spring tried to answer in the bottom half, as Ajay Yost walked, Hill doubled with one out and Micco drove in a run with a groundout, leaving a runner at third with two outs. Jaret Lazich followed with a line drive that was caught at second to end the game.

"I'm proud of the way they played," Pete Lazich said. "They played their hearts out, and as a coach, that's all I can ask for. We could be sitting here 2-0 instead of 0-2, but that's baseball."

The manager said big innings -- a Clear Spring trademark through district and state play -- have been hard to come by at regionals.

"We've lived on big innings through districts and states, and we just haven't had that inning up here," Lazich said. "We haven't bunched the hits together to get us going. That's the thing that's missing."

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