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Junior tourney: Conococheague makes going first last for opening win

June 27, 2012|By KYLE RAIOS | Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT — Sometimes you just have to score first. 

For the Conococheague Junior League All-Stars, a five-run first inning made up for five hitless innings as they took down Valley in the opening round of the Maryland District 1 Junior League Tournament, 6-2.

“Boys played well, pitchers came through,” said Conococheague manager Jeff Forshute. “We made the plays when we had to.”

Playing visitor at their own venue, Conococheague poured it on early. Bryce Byers walked to get things going and advanced to second when Austin Sigler was plunked with the very next pitch. A single off the bat of Ethan Moats loaded the bases, before Austin Golden drew a walk to score Byers. A two-run double by John Davies scored Sigler and Moats to make it 3-0 with no outs.

Austin Socks singled to bring Golden and Davies across the plate, and Conococheague led 5-0 in the top of the first.

It proved to be all they needed.

Valley was limited to only three hits through the first five innings, stranding four runners and striking out five times at the hands of Moats, Conococheague’s starter.

In the fifth, Landon Buzzard got things going for Valley by drawing a lead-off walk. Justin Bertrand then walked and a wild pitch advanced both runners, before a pick-off throw to third went astray, allowing Buzzard to score Valley’s first run.

Conococheague got it back in the top half of the sixth. Jerry Moschel reached on a walk, stole second and landed on third during Byers’ infield groundout. A passed ball let Moschel cross the plate, and Conococheague once again took a five run lead, 6-1.

Valley tacked on another in the sixth. Ryan Kolich singled to start the inning. He went to second when a pick-off throw caught at first was errantly thrown back to pitcher Moats. Joey Schwartz drew a walk to put runners on first and second for Valley with no outs, before Ryan Bywaters grounded into a double play, allowing Kolich to move up to third. He scored on T.J. Kuhn’s single as Valley chipped the lead down, 6-2.

Conococheague threatened again in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with one out, before Valley hurler Schwartz set the last two batters down on strikes to end the threat.

Valley looked poised to start a rally in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with two down, before an infield pop-out ended the threat and the game.

Valley will play at home in a losers’ bracket game Friday at 5:30 p.m. Conococheague will host the winners’ bracket final on Sunday at 5:30.

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