THREE COUNTY TEAMS SURVIVE FRIDAY IN RUTH TOURNEY

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Three of five county teams remained alive Friday in the double-elimination Babe Ruth League state baseball tournaments at Louise Cosca Regional Park in Clinton, Prince George's County, and at McCurdy Field in Frederick:

* The Westminster 13 team's Jeff Haines had been struggling with the bat recently. But he broke the cold spell at the right time to lift the Westminster 13-year-old Babe Ruth team to an 8-7 come-from-behind victory in the losers' bracket of the state tournament.

Haines, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning, stroked a two-out, two-run single to right-center field to producethe winning runs against Cecil County Friday at Cosca Park.

Westminster, which defeated Prince George's, 12-4, Wednesday to stay alivein the tournament, was scheduled to face the loser of the Frederick-Upper Montgomery Athletic Club game at 4 p.m. yesterday (after press time). The Frederick-UMAC game was rained out on Friday.

Another loss would eliminate Westminster from the tournament.

Westminster entered the seventh inning against Cecil trailing, 7-5. With two on base and two outs, Matt Gill's single drove in a run, slicing the margin to one. Gill raced to second on the play, setting the stage for Haines' heroics.

"Jeff had been in a little bit of a slump," said Coach Tony Steigerwald. "But in batting practice, he started hitting theball a little more."

Gill had entered the game at catcher in the third to replace Jason Dykes, who relieved Chad Mathias on the mound.Mathias had tired in the 90-plus degree heat, said Steigerwald. LikeHaines, Gill also had been shuttled in and out of the lineup during district and state tournament play.

"The way everything's been going, I put them in, they know their job and they do it," said Steigerwald. "It's an unsung-hero type thing. It's not one boy carrying the team, but all 15."

Westminster led, 5-3, in the top of the seventh before giving up two hits and committing two errors, leading to four Cecil runs. R. D. Larkin relieved Dykes with one out in the seventh, retiring the two batters he faced to silence Cecil's rally.

Nick Stonesifer and Dykes drew walks in Westminster's half of the inning tostart the comeback.

Stonesifer, Dykes and Gill each had two hits to lead Westminster's 10-hit attack. Dykes gave up seven hits and struck out five in 4 1/3 innings of work. Mathias surrendered one hit inhis two innings.

Steigerwald credited first base coach George Webster for some daring base-running decisions that set Westminster up for the win.

Chris Cash pitched a complete game, and Larkin and Dykes each had three hits in the Wednesday win over Prince George's.

* The Westminster 14 team was bounced from the tournament Friday by Frederick, 8-5. Westminster had defeated Frederick, 12-11, earlier in the tournament.

Westminster 14 trailed Frederick the entire game. Westminster closed the deficit from 7-2 to 7-5 in the sixth, but thenthe offense stalled.

"Their pitcher did a nice job hanging in forfive innings in the heat," said Westminster 14 coach John Schaffer. "It was just catch-up for us all the way."

Corey Van Wagner pitched the first three innings for Westminster before tiring in the heat.

* The Westminster 14-15 team, which also lost its tournament opener then followed with a win in the losers' bracket, was scheduled to play Prince George's North at 1 p.m. yesterday (after press time). That game was postponed by rain Friday night.

* The Carroll County 16all-star team's journey to the finals has been an adventure.

On Friday, the club got just enough offense and some timely defense to oust the Frederick All-Stars, 4-3, at McCurdy Field in Frederick.

Carroll scored a pair of runs with two outs in the first to take a 2-0 lead, capped by Mike Dodd's run-scoring single.

After Frederick tied it at two in the top of the third, Carroll came right back in the bottom of the inning to regain the two-run lead at 4-2.

Brad Gibson hit a two-out double to drive in both runs.

With Carroll up, 4-3, two key defensive plays preserved the win for Carroll. In the Frederick fifth, with runners on first and third and one out, Isaac Gusmanhit a line shot to Carroll first baseman Jeff Ibex, who snared it and doubled up the runner on first.

The game ended in much the same fashion. With the tying run at third and one out, Frederick's Rich Felthouser hit a hard liner to shortstop Wade Zufall, who caught it andthrew to third for the double play.

"We just had a couple lucky balls hit right at us that turned the game around," Carroll coach Jerry Dayton said.

Kevin Dull pitched the first three innings for the win, and Mike McGinnis, who had two hits in the game, came in to record the save.

Carroll was scheduled to face Prince George's North at 2 p.m. yesterday (after press time). If Carroll won that game, the two teams would each have one loss and would play again in the final at 5 p.m.

On Wednesday, Carroll fought off elimination in comebackfashion. Trailing, 4-0, to Prince George's II after one inning, Carroll pitcher Brian Dayton closed the door the rest of the way, and theclub's offense came to life with eight runs in the top of the sixth for a 9-4 victory.

McGinnis and Dodd both went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a triple to lead the attack.

* The Carroll County 16-18 all-star team carried a 4-3 lead into the top of the sixth inning against Prince George's South Friday night at McCurdy Field before surrendering two runs without a hit and ultimately falling, 6-4.

The loss eliminated Carroll.

"We left seven men on in the first three innings," said Carroll coach Ralph Arnold. "We could have broken the game open and we didn't. It hurt."

In the top of the sixth, Carroll pitcher Adam Klohr hit Prince George's leadoff batter and walked the second before giving way to reliever Joel Grinder.

A double-steal advanced the runners to second and third. The tying run scored on a groundout to the second baseman. A well-executed suicide squeeze plated the go-ahead run.

In the top of the seventh, Prince George's lead-off batter tripled and scored on a second successful suicide squeeze to end the scoring.

"We only gave up three hits, and the boys played with a lot of heart," Arnold said. "It was a tough one to lose."

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