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Conococheague wins District 1 11-12 championship

July 14, 2011|By WILL ROBINSON | Staff Correspondent
  • Conococheague players Justin Beckley (21) and Trevor Knode run around the field getting high fives from fans after defeating Valley 13-3 for the Maryland District 1 11-12 Tournament championship on Thursday.
By Chris Tilley/Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — The Conococheague 11-12 All-Stars used an all-around dominating performance to win the Maryland District 1 Tournament for the second time in three years Thursday, defeating Valley 13-3 in five innings.

The victory punches Conococheague’s ticket to the state tournament, which starts July 23 at Maugansville.

“We’ve got a good group this year, and I’m proud of everyone for getting this far,” said Conococheague manager Pat Taylor. “I want to compliment our entire district. We appreciate all of the kind words from the coaches around the league, and we hope to represent District 1 well in the state tournament.”

Leading the way for Conococheague was first baseman Gage Kyler, who had a game-high five RBIs. Kyler hit a two-run homer in the first inning and a two-run double in the second, and finished his day with an RBI single in the fifth.

“I’ve been focusing on hitting the ball to the opposite field, so I’ve been getting around on the ball easier,” Kyler said.

Leading 3-1 heading into the second inning, Conococheague broke the game open with five runs in the frame. Hunter Ostrum singled and scored on a passed ball before Kyler’s two-run double. Isaac Schlotterbeck singled in Kyler and Caden Keplinger scored Justin Beckley, who pinch ran for Schlotterbeck.

“We’ve been focusing on getting good balls and hitting line drives while avoiding pop-ups,” said Taylor.

Pitcher Levi Taylor went all five innings for Conococheague, racking up eight strikeouts — striking out out the side in the fifth inning — while only allowing two walks.

“Our pitching has been around the plate as of late,” Pat Taylor said. “We knew Valley was going to put the ball in play, we just trusted Levi and we wanted our defense to do its job.”

Looking ahead to the state tournament, Pat Taylor knows the dangers that come with facing unknown opposition. He hopes to keep his team focused on its preparation.

“We’re going try to take a lot of the same focus that we did for the district tournament,” Taylor said. “It’s different when you don’t know what’s coming, so we’re going to have to be versatile in all different aspects of the game.”

Chase Metz, Jared Durning and Drew Mathias each hit an RBI double for Valley. Coach Frank Bywaters commended his team’s toughness in the tournament.

“We battled every day since Sunday. I guess I knew that we were going to run out of gas at some point, but I was hoping we wouldn’t until Friday night.” said Bywaters. “I wish Pat Taylor and his players well in the state tournament.”

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