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11-12 tourney: National secures spot in final

July 10, 2012|By ANDREW MASON | andrewm@herald-mail.com
  • Brock Penn celebrates following National's 11-1 win over Clear Spring on Tuesday night in the Maryland District 1 11-12 tournament. National is the only unbeaten team remaining in the double-elimination tournament.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The old adage proved true at National Little League on Tuesday evening: Good pitching beats good hitting.

Brock Penn pitched a four-hitter with three strikeouts and a walk as National defeated Clear Spring 11-1 in five innings in the winners’ bracket final of the Maryland District 1 11-12 Tournament.

It was no small feat to shut down Clear Spring, which had scored 48 runs in its first three games of the tournament.

“I just tried to throw strikes and shut down their big hitters and not give them anything to drive,” Penn said. “And my defense backed me up.”

“He pitched a great game, a fantastic game,” said National manager Ed Penn, Brock’s father. “He didn’t overpower them, but he hit his spots and mixed his pitches up. Couldn’t ask for a better game, and he helped himself out in that first inning.”

National, which hosted the game but played as the visitor by virtue of a coin toss, took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. After Cody Crawford and Dawson Hottinger reached on errors to start the game, Brock Penn drove them both in with a double down the right-field line.

National extended its lead to 3-0 in the fourth against Clear Spring starter Josh Colliflower. Timmy Townsend singled, went to third on a double by Jordan Row and scored on an RBI groundout by Crawford.

National broke the game open in the fifth, sending 13 batter to the plate and scoring eight runs on six hits, three walks and an error.

After Colliflower recorded his eighth strikeout of the game to start the fifth, he was relieved on the mound — and the floodgates opened.

Corban Luna reached on an error, went to third on a double by Rian Flaherty and scored on a bunt single by Kyle Adams. Row followed with an RBI single, and after Chance Barnhart walked to load the bases, Crawford hit a two-run double and Hottinger hit an RBI single for an 8-0 lead.

After Penn walked to reload the bases, Luna drew another walk to plate a run and Flaherty followed with a two-run single to cap the rally.

“We had a key bunt in there and just a lot of timely hits,” Ed Penn said. “We hit the ball and played great defense.”

The defensive play of the game was turned in by Hottinger, who made a diving catch in left field to rob Connor Michael of at least an RBI double for the final out in the bottom of the fourth.

Clear Spring used singles by Joe Micco and Dylan Altman, sandwiched around a walk to Jaret Lazich, to score its lone run in the bottom of the fifth, before National turned a nifty 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

Clear Spring manager Pete Lazich seemed to take the loss in stride.

“The better man won tonight. (Brock Penn) pitched a great game. And everything we hit was right at them,” Lazich said. “It’s a disappointing loss, but we didn’t hit, didn’t play defense and, hence, we didn’t win.”

Clear Spring will host either Valley or South Mountain in the losers’ bracket final on Thursday at 6 p.m. National will host that winner in the championship round on Friday at 6 p.m.

“We need to win three in a row now, so we’ll see what we’re made of, see what kind of team we’ve actually got,” Pete Lazich said.

National needs one more win to capture its first 11-12 district title since 1993 and 12th overall.

“We’ve had a few down here, but it’s been a while,” Ed Penn said. “We’re just taking it one game at a time.”

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