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Conococheague drops another heartbreaker

July 15, 2013|By DANIEL KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com
  • Easton's Alexander Stecher-Scott makes it onto second base as Conococheague's Justin Moschel jumps to catch the ball Monday in the 10-11 Little League state tournament at Williamsport.
Colleen McGrath / Colleen McGrath

WILLIAMSPORT — Once again, the Conococheague Little League 10-11 All-Stars fell behind, then battled back to make a thriller out of a Maryland State Tournament game on their home field.

And once again, Conococheague fell one run short.

After a heartbreaking 8-7 loss to Elkton in seven innings on Sunday, Conococheague rallied from an 11-5 deficit to take the lead in the top of the fourth inning against Easton in Monday’s losers’ bracket contest.

But Josh Risher’s tiebreaking two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth proved decisive as Easton eliminated Conococheague from the tournament with a wild 14-13 victory.

“It all stemmed from (Sunday),” Conococheague manager Scott Osborne said. “I don’t know if the kids ever recovered from that. ... I’d go to battle with every single one of them.”

Conococheague took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first on two hits, a walk and two Easton errors. Colby Slusarz hit an RBI single and Clay Dunahugh also drove in a run.

Easton answered with six runs in the bottom half on three hits, four walks and an error to take the lead. Haiden Rhodes and Patrick Murphy hit RBI singles and Micah Haddock delivered the biggest blow, a two-run single.

Trey Osborne doubled to the gap in right and came around to score on two groundouts to push Conococheague within 6-5 in the top of the second.

Easton opened up its 11-5 advantage with a five-run bottom of the second on five hits. Murphy drove a two-run double to right, Jack Vener grounded a two-run single that took an outrageously high hop over the second baseman, and Risher added an RBI infield single.

Down but not out, Conococheague clawed back, taking advantage of two Easton errors to score twice in the third to cut the deficit to 11-7. Kyle Hott worked a 1-2-3 bottom half to keep the gap at four runs.

Conococheague then scored five runs in the top of the fourth — taking advantage of three more Easton errors — to take a 12-11 lead. Trey Osborne cut the deficit to 11-10 with his two-run double to the gap in left, and a throwing error on the play allowed Bella Itnyre to score the tying run. Osborne scored on a wild pitch for the lead.

However, Easton brought out the big bats to regain the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Vener retied the game with an RBI double to left, and Risher followed with a two-run homer just over the fence near the right-field foul pole for a 14-12 lead.

Hott doubled down the right-field line and scored on Christian Stanton’s RBI single to left to cut the lead to 14-13 in the fifth, but Easton’s Jaden Copper pitched a 1-2-3 sixth to end Conococheague’s hopes.

“They fought hard to come back after a pretty big setback in the first inning,” Scott Osborne said. ““We scored runs in every inning, we just couldn’t in the sixth.”

The setback happened three batters into the game. Corey Walters was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct after taking strikes two and three on borderline calls on the outside edge.

“We’re not even sure why,” Osborne said. “Apparently, he questioned the call, and I guess you can’t do that. It put a damper on our pitching because he was our No. 2 guy.”

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