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Itnyre finishes what Sharer starts for Conococheague in 11-12 semifinals

July 03, 2013|By ANDREW MASON | Andrewm@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Ryan Sharer got it started with a three-run homer in the first inning, and Jaustin Itnyre finished it with a walk-off two-run shot in the fifth, as Conococheague defeated host Federal 14-4 on Wednesday evening in the Maryland District 1 11-12 Little League Baseball Tournament.

Conococheague will travel to play Sharpsburg in the winners’ bracket final Friday at 6 p.m.

Federal will host National in a losers’ bracket game Friday at 6 p.m.

“We’re just really excited about the team that we have and how well they work together,” Conococheague manager Pat Taylor said. “They’re really enjoying themselves.”

After Conococheague went up 3-0 in the bottom of the first on Sharer’s three-run blast to right, Federal tied it in the second on a three-run homer to left by Andrew Blake.

Conococheague then made Federal pay for its mistakes in the third, rallying for five runs to take an 8-3 lead. Federal committed three errors early in the inning, and Conococheague pounced.

“It’s very important to take advantage of that stuff,” Taylor said.

The rally was highlighted by back-to-back doubles by Dalton Blundell and Alex Avey. Blundell’s hit drove in one run, and Avey’s plated two.

“We should have had them 1-2-3,” Federal manager Mike Murray said. “But instead, they got five runs and turned the momentum of the game.”

Federal tried to bounce right back in the fourth. Camden Casey’s one-out, bases-loaded infield single cut the deficit to 8-4, but that’s all Federal would get. Sharer — Conococheague’s third and final pitcher of the game — got his team out of the jam with a fielder’s-choice out at the plate and a strikeout.

“It’s never comfortable to play here,” Taylor said. “Federal always puts a good team together, and they know how to hit. You just have to avoid the big inning, and we were able to do that tonight.”

Conococheague scored six runs in the fifth to go up 14-4, ending the game early due to the 10-run mercy rule. Avey and Ryan Greene each had an RBI single in the rally, before Itnyre capped it with a two-run homer to right.

Greene, Sharer and Avey each finished with two hits each for Conococheague, while Jakob Connor went 3-for-3 and Blake added two hits for Federal.

Each team had 10 hits.

“They just put theirs together at the right spots,” Murray said. “Hats off to Conococheague. They made some nice plays and hit the ball well. Hopefully we’ll fight our way through the losers’ bracket and see them again.

“The boys are resilient. They’ll bounce back. We’ll be back here Friday night. Friday’s a new day.”

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