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Sharpsburg knocks out Conococheague

July 01, 2011|By ANDREW MASON | andrewm@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT — This time there was no controversy as Sharpsburg fairly and squarely defeated Conococheague 8-7 on Friday in the losers’ bracket final of the Maryland District 1 9-10 Tournament.

With runners on first and second and no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Ben Burgan hit a deep fly ball to left field for a game-winning RBI single, breaking the 7-7 tie that had stood since the top of the fourth.

“That was huge. That’s what we needed,” Sharpsburg manager Steve Mason said. “He hit the ball deep.”

The victory came a week after Sharpsburg had defeated Conococheague 13-11 in the opening round. But that victory was taken from Sharpsburg and given to Conococheague after Conococheague officials protested that Sharpsburg had won with an ineligible player — who indeed did not live within Sharpsburg’s league boundaries.

Mason said the rematch was not all about revenge.

“Conococheague’s a great team, top to bottom, and you can’t take anything away from their kids,” Mason said. “What happened last week had nothing to do with them.”

Conococheague came out swinging Friday, taking a 3-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-run homer by Jaustin Itnyre and a solo shot by Dalton Blundell.

“I told them before the game that Sharpsburg was going to hit and that we’d have to hit with them,” Conococheague manager Kevin Walters said.

Sharpsburg tied it at 3 in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Aaron Hartle and a two-run double by Josh DeRocher.

Conococheague went up 6-3 in the second, turning two errors, two passed balls, a wild pitch and three hits — including an RBI single by Itnyre — into three runs.

Sharpsburg answered again in the bottom half, tying the game at 6. Burgan, Peyton Mason and Hartle each had an RBI.

Sharpsburg took its first lead of the night in the third as DeRocher doubled, took third on an error and scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-6.

Conococheague tied it at 7 in the fourth on an RBI fielder’s choice by Blundell.

“Both teams fought the whole way — back and forth, back and forth,” Steve Mason said. “These were two groups of kids that weren’t willing to roll over.”

While Sharpsburg was the visiting team, it won the pregame coin toss for home-team rights.

“I think that’s what ultimately won the game,” Steve Mason said.

“It came down to who got to bat last,” Walters said.

Dalton Shank — who pitched 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to get the win — reached on an error to start the bottom of the sixth. He went to second after T.J. Kalagher drew a walk and scored the winning run on Burgan’s walk-off hit.

DeRocher finished 3-for-3, Kalagher was 2-for-2 with a double and two walks and Shank scored four runs for Sharpsburg. Justin Taylor went 3-for-3 for Conococheague.

Sharpsburg, which has won five games in five days this week, will try to make it 6-for-6 today at 2 p.m. in the championship round at Valley (the winners’ bracket champ). Sharpsburg needs to beat Valley today and again on Tuesday to capture the district title, while Valley just needs to win once.

“We’ve asked a lot of these kids, and they’ve come out every day wanting to play baseball,” Steve Mason said. “This was a big win, but Valley’s our next opponent. We have to enjoy tonight and then put it in the past.”

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