SHARPSBURG — The offense was plentiful in Friday’s Maryland District 1 9-10 Tournament game between Sharpsburg and Conococheague. But it was a late defensive play that decided the outcome.
Conococheague was down by two runs in the top of the sixth inning with the bases loaded and only one out. But Sharpsburg turned a 6-4-3 double play for a 13-11 victory.
“It’s huge to get win number one and get into the winners’ bracket,” Sharpsburg manager Mike Nolan said.
Conococheague trailed 13-9 entering the sixth. A Ryan Greene double followed by a Justin Taylor single put the first two runners on base for Conococheague. After Dalton Blundell was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Skylar Whittington walked to score Greene, and a base hit by Maddux Grove plated Taylor to bring Conococheague within two runs. But a groundout to the shortstop ended Conococheague’s late rally.
“Sharpsburg is a good club, they’re well coached,” said Conococheague manager Kevin Walters. “Our team fought and never gave up, but Sharpsburg made a great defensive play at the end.”
Sharpsburg’s clutch defense was preceded by its run-producing offense.
Sharpsburg tallied seven runs in the first inning to take a 7-2 lead that it never relinquished. Dalton Shank’s three-run triple highlighted the strong first inning.
“We wanted to come out aggressive,” Nolan said. “We have kids with speed who can put a bat on the ball, and we wanted to take advantage of that.”
Sharpsburg put up six more runs over the next four innings, including a three-run fourth inning in which all the runs were scored off a Conococheague fielding error that stemmed from a Josh Derocher bunt attempt.
Whittington drove in three runs for Conococheague, Grove drove in two and Jaustin Itnyre and Alex Avey each had an RBI.