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11-12 state tourney: Missed opportunities costly for Clear Spring

July 25, 2012|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com
  • Clear Spring's Zach Greenlee (34) reacts after being called out on strikes with the bases loaded in the sixth inning against West Salisbury in Wednesday's winners' bracket final of the Maryland 11-12 Little League state tournament at Brunswick, Md.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

BRUNSWICK, Md. — In order to win the Maryland 11-12 Little League state title, Clear Spring must now play — and win — three more games.

That scenario became necessary when West Salisbury shut down Clear Spring’s prolific bats and foiled a potential sixth-inning uprising for a 3-1 victory in the winners’ bracket final Wednesday night.

Now, Clear Spring must return Thursday night at 6 for a losers’ bracket final against host Brunswick. A victory is needed in order to gain a rematch with West Salisbury on Friday, with a win needed to force a final game Saturday.

“We’ve got to start looking at three left to play,” said manager Pete Lazich. “We still have to go out there and produce.”

Clear Spring managed only four hits, including a first-pitch home run in the top of the first inning by Jaret Lazich. A single by Connor Michael in the fourth inning was the only other hit until the sixth.

The Clear Spring team and its fans were stymied by what did not happen in the sixth.

With hard-throwing Matt Chrystosome on in relief, Dylan Altman reached first when he was hit by a pitch and A.J. Yost followed with a single to left.

West Salisbury brought on Grayson Winterbottom to pitch, and he was greeted by Josh Colliflower’s single, with Altman held at third as left fielder Ryan Johnson charged the ball in shallow left.

“You’re looking at a great opportunity with the bases loaded and none out,” said Pete Lazich.

But Winterbottom quickly got in the groove and struck out Zack Greenlee, Connor Michael and Chase Reed in order to finish off Clear Spring.

“Four hits won’t win many games,” said Pete Lazich. “(West Salisbury) was two home runs better than us tonight. That was it.”

After Cade Hurley doubled and scored on a single by Winterbottom for a 1-1 tie in the first, West Salisbury went deep twice in the third.

Hurley launched a drive leading off the third for his third homer of the tournament. After Yost struck out two batters, Chrystosome belted a shot for a 3-1 lead.

“(Yost) missed his spots on just a couple of pitches and they obviously took advantage of that,” said Pete Lazich.

Yost went the first 2 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and allowed all five hits. Garrett Embly pitched an effective two innings of relief with three strikeouts.

Clear Spring threatened briefly in the fourth with a leadoff walk to Yost and Connors’ two-out single before Chrystosome struck out Tyler Hill.

“I give credit where it’s due to West Salisbury’s pitching,” said Pete Lazich. “But I give credit to ours also. We just had a 3-1 Little League game.”

Brunswick 11, Easton 5

Tyler Ebberts led off the game with a home run and Dominick Naylor followed with a two-run shot that boosted Brunswick to a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

Brunswick never looked back, scoring two more runs in the second and closing out Easton with five runs in the fifth.

Starter Zack Heffner threw three shutout innings, allowing only two hits for Brunswick.

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