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Bethesda puts Easton away again at 10-11 state tourney

July 16, 2013|By WILL ROBINSON | will.robinson@herald-mail.com
  • Easton's Alexander Stecher-Scott tries to make a play as Bethesda's Harufumi Nakazawa runs for second Tuesday during the Little League 10-11 State Tournament at Conococheague's Ebersole field in Williamsport.
Colleen McGrath / Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — It was déjà vu for Bethesda and Easton on Tuesday in their losers’ bracket semifinal at the Maryland 10-11 State Little League Baseball Tournament at Ebersole Field.

What started as a close game ended up as another 11-1 victory for Bethesda to eliminate Easton, mirroring their first meeting in Saturday’s opening round — also an 11-1 Bethesda win.

With the victory, Bethesda advances to the losers’ bracket final against Elkton on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Bethesda held a 2-1 lead through 3 1/2 innings before exploding for nine runs in the bottom of the fourth, sending Easton home due to the 10-run rule.

“At this point I told my players that they’re going to run into competition,” said Bethesda manager Sushil Rane. “Easton’s pitcher pitched with a lot of responsibility. He threw a great game. Hats off to him for keeping it close for four innings.”

With five pitchers ineligible, Easton turned to Jack Vener, who kept Easton in the game as long as he could with three strikeouts. However, Bethesda’s bats woke up.

Matt Rudolf led off the fourth with a double and Josh Forburger knocked in pinch-runner J.B. Strachan with another two-bagger.

Sean Fleming reached base on an error, plating Ben Clarke, before Henry Smith smacked a two-run double to center. Smith later took home plate on a double steal.

Haru Nakazawa reached base on another Easton error and was plated by Pranav Rane, who scored on an RBI double by Rudolf. Clarke singled in Rudolf and scored the game-ending run on an RBI single by Forburger.

“We played the way we were supposed to. We hung in there and got good at-bats,” said Rane.

“It seems like we can’t avoid the bad inning. We were amazed how we went from a nice, tight game to being 10-run ruled,” said Easton manager Micah Risher. “It was a perfect storm. Our errors happened all at once and our bats were cold. We just weren’t firing on all cylinders tonight.”

Easton drew first blood in the top of the first when Josh Risher doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Haiden Rhodes. But Easton’s next hit wouldn’t come until the third inning — a single by Risher. Easton only had four hits in the game, three of them by Risher.

In the meantime, Bethesda tied the game in the bottom of the second when Clarke scored on a Forburger sacrifice fly. Bethesda took the lead for good in the bottom of the third when Nakazawa singled and scored on an error.

“The final scores don’t justify how close these games are, and tonight’s game was no different,” said Rane.

Clarke and Justin Packs combined for five strikeouts for Bethesda.

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