For the first three innings of last night's Little League District II tournament game, Frederick pitcher Kevin Kendro was nearly unhittable.
The Frederick National starter had Westminster batters flailing away at his offerings.
But over the final four innings of the extra-innings game, Kendrofaltered. First, Westminster hit him hard. Then wildness was the hurler's problem, as the Carroll County team stayed alive with an 8-6 come-from-behind victory at Robert B. Staley Memorial Field.
The winputs Westminster in tonight's losers' bracket game of the double-elimination tournament. The Carroll team plays in Emmitsburg, Frederick County, at 6 p.m. Westminster fell into the losers' bracket on Monday, when Taneytown edged Westminster, 5-4, at Bennett Cerf Park.
Things looked bleak for Westminster early in last night's game, as the hosts took a 5-0 lead after three innings. But some outstanding pinch-hitting brought Westminster back.
Mike Patterson belted a two-run homer to dead center field in the fourth. Jonathan Plunkert re-entered the game in the fifth inning, after being pinch hit for in the fourth. He delivered a three-run shot to left to tie the game.
Though the game hinged on key plays in the fifth and seventh innings, Westminster coach Rick Frame said the first homer was the most important.
"They responded (after the homer), and that's the name of the game," Frame said.
Later in the fifth, pinch hitter Matt Bowers drove in the go-ahead run to give Westminster a 6-5 lead. But Frederick tiedthe game with a run in the sixth -- though the team had the potential to score many more. Frederick had the bases loaded with none out, but managed only one run on a sacrifice fly.
In the seventh, Westminster scored two runs -- both with two outs -- and Patterson drew a walk, reaching third on a pair of wild pitches and scoring on Billy Mays' double. Hank Adams plated Mays with his own double for the final run.
Westminster survived another scare in the bottom of the seventh, when Frederick loaded the bases with two outs (after an intentional walk), but reliever Chris Mathias fanned Robert Churchman to end the game.
Taneytown and Brunswick, meanwhile, meet tonight at Memorial Park in a matchup of the two remaining unbeaten clubs in the district tournament.
Taneytown will send Darrell Smith to the mound.
"I'm very confident having him on the mound," Taneytown coach Doug Arnold Sr. said of Smith, the winning pitcher in a 7-6 victory over Frederick National Friday. "He's probably the best pitcher we have on our staff."
Brunswick advanced Monday with an explosive 29-14 victory over Thurmont, which featured a 12-run first inning. Todd Taylor belted three doubles and a home run and drove in seven runs for the winners.
A gutsy pitching performance by Doug Arnold Jr. and a solid defense held off a late surge from Westminster, as Taneytown improved to 2-0 in the tournament Monday.
Arnold coasted on the mound early, allowing just one run on two hits through the first four innings. He also received great support from his defense.
"The boys played really well together," Arnold Sr. said. "Defensively, our infield is very sound and our outfield can go out and catch the ball as well."
Westminster rallied with three runs in the top of the fifth to narrow the Taneytown lead to 5-4. Taneytown catcher Ryan Etzler ended the rally, though, by throwing out Plunkert at third after a passed ball.
"I was nervous out there, particularly in that fifth inning," Arnold Jr. said. "I just tried to get it over and make them hit the ball and let my defense do the work. My arm still felt great."
Westminster had the tying run in scoring position again in the top of thesixth. Mays singled with one out and went to second on a ground out,but Arnold Jr. got Patterson to fly out to Larry Naill in center to preserve the victory.
"It's a real good feeling (defeating Westminster)," Arnold Sr. said. "We're the only two teams in the county which makes it kind of a a grudge match. We knew it would be a good, close, well-played game and it was."