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Upper half of batting order leads Halfway to District 1 tourney title

June 20, 2012|By DAN KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com
  • Sharpburg's Rebekah Singleton, right, reaches first base as the throw during her bunt single hits her, just out of the reach of Halfway's Katelyn Yost on Wednesday in the third inning of Halfway's 11-10, nine-inning victory to win the District 1 Little League softball title.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

SHARPSBURG — The Halfway Little League Softball 11-12 All-Stars sure made their first Maryland District 1 championship memorable.

Halfway rallied from a 7-2 deficit after four innings to tie the game at 7 and force extra innings, then recovered from blowing its own three-run lead in the eighth to beat Sharpsburg 11-10 in nine innings in Game 3 of the best-of-3 championship series.

Halfway won its first district title in the league’s first season of softball and will next play in the seven-team Maryland State Tournament, which will be held at Sharpsburg beginning July 7.

“Man, what a game,” said Halfway manager Chris Schlotterbeck, who seconds later was dripping wet after his players snuck up behind him with the water cooler. “When they came in after the fourth, I said to them, ‘Do you believe you can score runs?’ And when they said yes to me, I knew they believed they could do it.”

The first four hitters in Halfway’s order — who combined for nine hits, three walks, seven RBIs and eight runs scored — got the comeback started in the fifth. Katelyn Yost singled, Trinity Schlotterbeck hit an RBI double, Jazmine Yost singled and Morgan Domer hit a two-run single to cut Sharpsburg’s lead to 7-5.

In the sixth, No. 9-hitter Brianna Wright led off with a walk before Katelyn Yost’s bloop single. With one out, Jazmine Yost scored Wright with a groundout. With two outs, after a walk to Domer, Valerie Bran — who had been 0-for-3 — ripped a liner to left. It was just high enough to glance off the webbing of Sharpsburg third baseman Peyton’s Smith’s glove before finding the outfield grass for an RBI single and a 7-7 tie.

“She knew they walked Morgan to get to her, but she put the bat on the ball,” Chris Schlotterbeck said. “We were trying to figure out who to put in the fifth hole tonight, and we thought, ‘Let’s put Val there, maybe she’ll do something.’”

Haflway took a 10-7 lead in the top of the eighth, with the top of the order doing the damage again. Katelyn Yost and Trinity Schlotterbeck singled and Jasmine Yost hit a seeing-eye two-run single through the hole at short for a 9-7 lead. Jasmine Yost later scored on Bran’s bloop single to center before Sharpburg pitcher Brooke Singleton got out of the jam with a strikeout and a double play on a lineout to first.

Sharpsburg rallied back for a 10-10 tie in the bottom half. With one out, Kayla Cline was hit by a pitch, and with two outs, Singleton singled to left to set up Taylor Neff’s two-run double to left that just eluded Halfway left fielder Alyssa Shoemaker. Neff stole third and raced home with the tying run as the ball trickled away from third base, then was thrown away.

“Our girls gave a hell of an effort,” said Sharpsburg coach Mark Baker, who was upset by what he thought were some missed calls. “They fought hard and battled back when it was hard. Calls went against us tonight, that was the difference in the game.”

Halfway finally pushed across the winning run in the ninth. Alexis Hubbard led off by reaching on an error, took second on a groundout, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Trinity Schlotterbeck’s fielder’s choice grounder to short.

Schlotterbeck — who won Game 1 by allowing four hits and striking out 11 — won Game 3 by allowing six earned runs on nine hits and five walks while striking out 20. She got stronger in the final four innings, striking out 10.

“I don’t know how she got stronger, but she did it,” Chris Schlotterbeck said. “I keep going back to the idea that they really believed they would win tonight.”

Trailing 2-1 after two innings, Sharpsburg took a 7-2 lead with a pair of three-run innings in the third and fourth. Sharpsburg did it with some big hits — Morgan Frazier’s RBI double in the second, Neff’s RBI triple in the third, Shelbi Robinette’s two-run single in the third and Lauren Longerbeam’s RBI double in the fourth.

Singleton allowed eight earned runs on 13 hits, walked seven and struck out 11 for Sharpsburg.

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