Hagerstown stays alive at PONY-13 World Series

July 28, 2012

FULLERTON, Calif. — Mitchell Wilson’s RBI single was the biggest blow in a four-run sixth inning that lifted Hagerstown to an 8-6 victory over host Fullerton in an elimination game at the PONY-13 World Series on Saturday.

Hagerstown will face the loser of Saturday’s late game between Tijuana, Mexico, and Tamiami (Miami, Fla.) on Sunday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Should Hagerstown win, it would play the Tijuana-Tamiami winner at 10 p.m. Eastern.

“We’re excited. We’re really happy,” Hagerstown manager Dave Barr said. “It doesn’t matter who we play, to get the first win for Hagerstown is big and we appreciate all the support we’re getting back home.”

Hagerstown took a 4-0 lead in the first inning, then fell behind as Fullerton scored three runs in the third and three more in the fourth for a 6-4 lead. But Hagerstown’s offense did enough in the sixth to reclaim the lead and earn the victory.

Matthew Harsh — who earned the victory on the mound after coming on in relief in the fourth inning — led off the sixth with a double down the left-field line and Bryce Scharenbroch singled before Myles Nicholson pinch ran and stole second to put runners on second and third. Isaac Schlotterbeck’s RBI single cut Fullerton’s lead to 6-5, and Gage Kyler’s sacrifice fly — a liner that was caught on a dive — scored Nicholson to tie the game.

Taylor Kerns’ single and Levi Taylor’s walk loaded the bases with one out. After a forceout at home on a fielder’s choice grounder for the second out, Wilson hit his game-winning single, and an error on the play gave Hagerstown an insurance run.

“I was really, really happy to see Mitchell do that,” Barr said. “He’s been struggling a bit and he stepped up in a big situation.”

Harsh closed the deal with a 1-2-3 seventh inning. He worked four innings, allowed just one hit and struck out eight.

“Matt was just lights out,” Barr said. “He has the best breaking ball in our entire league, including 14-year-olds, and I’m very proud of the way he stepped up and threw the ball exceptionally well. It’s the best outing he’s had all year.”

Bryce Ruppenthal started on the mound for Hagerstown and struck out the side in the top of the first, then hit an RBI double and scored on an error on the play to get the scoring started in the bottom half. Ryan Downes and Harsh followed with singles before Schlotterbeck’s two-run single gave Hagerstown a quick 4-0 lead. Schlotterbeck finished with three RBIs.

“Isaac got an opportunity to play today and he really stepped up,” Barr said. “Bryce is a constant. What I like so much about Bryce is to see a kid that’s such a nice kid do well, and he’s one of the nicest kids and I like seeing nice kids succeed.”

Ruppenthal struck out five without allowing a hit through 2 2/3 innings, but Fullerton got it going with two outs in the third. Alexander Penaloza singled and stole second to set up Jonathan Suarez’s RBI single. Suarez stole second, Antonio Valentin and Christopher Molina both walked to load the bases and Robert De La Fuente’s two-run single cut Hagerstown’s lead to 4-3.

Fullerton scored three more in the fourth for a 6-4 lead. Sebastian Vazquez hit a leadoff single, Michael Resendiz singled and a double steal led to a throwing error that allowed Vazquez to score the tying run. Conrad Napier and Adrian Quezada both walked to load the bases with no outs. Harsh relieved Brandon Gooden and struck out the next two hitters, but Valentin hit a two-run bloop single.

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