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Little League: Four County plays ‘smart,’ takes care of MoCo Upper to stay alive

Four County's Bryce Meyer pitching in 11-12 Little League District 2 tournament vs. Montgomery County Upper Little League.
Four County's Bryce Meyer pitching in 11-12 Little League District 2 tournament vs. Montgomery County Upper Little League. (Bill Ryan/ For Carroll County Ti/Carroll County Times)

MOUNT AIRY — Four County manager Jason Evans said his All-Stars squad played smart in its 11-12 District 2 tournament opener, a victory last Saturday. The following day, things didn’t go quite the same way — Four County dropped into the elimination bracket, which meant the rest of its tournament games would carry that “if” label.

If the All-Stars wanted to keep playing with each other, they’d have to keep winning.

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So far, so good.

Those smarts seemed to return Tuesday evening at Russell Windsor Field, where Four County took care of Montgomery County Upper in a 13-0 romp. The All-Stars were the visiting team because of a coin flip, but they wasted little time in taking control of this one.

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“Our approach this whole year, and how we’ve instructed them, is not just catching and throwing and hitting, but how to be smart,” Evans said. “Both on the mound and behind the plate, and at the plate.”

Four County flexed its muscle at the plate Tuesday with an eight-run second inning — the All-Stars sent 12 batters to the plate against Montgomery County, and took advantage of six walks in the frame. Sam Gapen laced an RBI double, and Caleb Kearns dropped a single down the right-field line that scored three runs.

Caleb Evans added a double in the first inning, and Kearns and Cooper Thompson collected two hits each.

Bryce Meyer started the game for Four County and pitched three scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Montgomery County Upper posted just one hit, a double from Wren O’Looney with one out in the second. Meyer walked the next batter, but got two outs to avoid any damage.

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“Tonight they bounced back and played a really intelligent game,” Jason Evans said.

Dominic Mejia waits for the ball as Four County's Sam Gapen takes second base in their 11-12 Little League District 2 tournament game at Russell Windsor Field.
Dominic Mejia waits for the ball as Four County's Sam Gapen takes second base in their 11-12 Little League District 2 tournament game at Russell Windsor Field. (Bill Ryan/ For Carroll County Ti/Carroll County Times)

Four County stayed patient at the plate against MOCO Upper, something Evans said has served his veteran bunch well so far.

“I wasn’t on the team last year,” said Kearns, who played for the 9-10 All-Stars in 2018. “We are a better team than we were last year. In 9-10 it’s not as much competition as it is here. Having the older guys is very helpful."

Gapen came on to pitch the fourth and preserved the shutout — the game ended early because of the 10-run rule — and after a post-game chat with their coaches the All-Stars darted toward their dugout. Some of them had plans to douse Meyer with as much cold water as they could.

Others were enjoying the song “Can’t Hold Us," by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, that blared over the public address system as they packed their bags and made plans to see each other again in 24 hours.

Gapen said forgetting about Sunday’s 7-3 setback against Frederick National was important Tuesday.

“If we would have kept on remembering about that, it would have dragged us down,” Gapen said.

Four County gets to play at home again Wednesday against either Thurmont or East Frederick. The All-Stars defeated Thurmont 8-5 in their first game of the tournament.

The “if” scenario brings on a nerves and jitters vibe most of the time, but Kearns and Gapen said Four County didn’t feel either trait Tuesday. That loose attitude could wind up being a big attribute for the remainder of the tourney.

“When you compound that with good pitching and defense, this is the result,” Jason Evans said. “It showed a certain level of growth and maturity. Even though this was an elimination game, they knew to to keep their heads in it. They’ve started to grasp onto the idea that if you’re smart and you stay into the game, and you play well, that’s really the fun part of playing baseball."

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