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National rolls to victory

June 24, 2011|By JACK HILL III | Staff Correspondent
  • The National Little League 9-10 All-Stars greet Corban Luna (14) at home plate after Luna homered against Maugansville in a first-round game Friday evening.
By Chris Tilley/Staff Photographer

After going scoreless for two innings, National scored at least three runs in every inning the rest of the way to beat Maugansville 16-2 in a Maryland District 1 9-10 Tournament first round game Friday night at Staley Park.

National (1-0) will host American today at 5 p.m. in the winners’ bracket. Maugansville (0-1) will host a losers’ bracket game on Monday at 6 p.m.

National opened the scoring in the top of the third inning. Cody Crawford and Timmy Townsend reached on infield errors to start the rally. One out later, cleanup hitter Corban Luna whacked a three-run home run to right center to give National the lead for good.

“When Corban hit that three-run homer, that got us going,” National manager Ed Penn said. “We really hit the ball well.”

National added five more runs in the fourth to expand its lead to 8-0. Michael Hawbaker led off with a bunt single and Crawford followed with a single. Three errors led the two runs before Kyle Gilbert’s RBI single to center and Stevie Witmer’s RBI infield single. One final error in the inning scored the final run.

“I knew coming in that we would have to play a perfect defensive game,” Maugansville manager Scott Gazzola said. “It worked for the first two innings. Then the errors caught up with us. If we made some plays, we could have gotten out of a few innings a little earlier. Every kid in their lineup hit the ball. They just had good run production tonight.”

Witmer went 5-for-5 at the plate for National.

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“That eight-run lead gave our pitchers a nice cushion,” Penn said. “That enabled our pitchers to settle down and pitch a good game. Overall, I am really proud of our players. We are off to a good start.”

Maugansville got two runs in the bottom of the fourth to reduce the deficit to 8-2 when Ryan Socks came home on a wild pitch and Andrew O’Connor scored on a single to left by Ben Gazzola.

National tacked on three runs in the fifth to extend its lead to 11-2 on an RBI double by Brock Penn and RBI singles by Luna and Stevie Witmer.

National scored its final five runs in the sixth. Hawbaker, Crawford and Townsend started the inning with three straight doubles to produce the first two runs. The last three runs scored on two wild pitches and an RBI groundout by Chase Robinson.

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