11-12 tourney: Flaherty's walk-off sacrifice fly adds a little flair to National's victory over Sharpsburg

July 06, 2012|By BRETT NIEVES | Staff Correspondent
  • National catcher Dawson Hottinger, left, blocks the plate and takes out Sharpsburg's Kelton Brown for the second out of the fifth inning of National's 2-1 victory on Friday in the Maryland District 1 11-12 tournament.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Rian Flaherty is beginning to develop a clutch gene.

Thursday night, he hit a game-winning three-run home run to lift National past American.

Friday night, he plated the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth to get National past Sharpsburg 2-1 in the second round of the Maryland District 1 Little League 11-12 tournament.

And for extra measure, Flaherty came on as a reliever in the fifth inning and kept the Sharpsburg bats quiet over the final 1 1/3 innings.

“(Flaherty) finished the game,” National manager Ed Penn said. “I couldn’t have asked for better pitching performance from him or (starting pitcher Corban) Luna.”

National was issued three straight walks in the bottom of the sixth to load the bases in the tied game to set up Flaherty’s sacrifice fly scored Dawson Hottinger to end the contest.

“I’m proud of the way we battled,” Penn said. “We came through big when we needed it.”

Both starting pitchers were dialed in from the start and their relievers didn’t disappoint either. Sharpsburg starter Kelton Brown pitched 3 1/3 innings without surrendering a run and fanned four National batters.

Brown was relieved by Colton Bare, who finished the game, while striking out two.

“Both pitchers did well tonight,” Sharpsburg manager Scott Bare said. “There was some pressure on (Colton Bare) at the end, but he performed well.”

Luna went a little deeper for National, turning in 4 2/3 innings of work, allowing one run while striking out two.

The scoreboard displayed nothing but goose eggs over the first 3 1/2 innings before Brock Penn belted a solo home run to put National up 1-0.

“Luna threw a great game and Brock (Penn) had a big home run for us,” Ed Penn said.

Sharpsburg’s only run scored in the top of the fifth when Max Crist crossed the plate on a passed ball to knot the game at 1-1.

“We have to do it the hard way now,” Scott Bare said. “I’m proud of the kids. National always puts together a good team.”

National will get a few days rest before hosting Valley on Monday at 6 p.m. Sharpsburg begins losers’ bracket play today at 6 p.m. when it travels to Federal.

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