Game 24
Southwest
4 vs. Mid-Atlantic 6

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
8:00PM ET


Tie-breaker, Back-breaker
Maryland beats Louisiana, 6-4, but falls short of semifinals

By Dustin Picciolo

Needing a miracle to advance to the United States semi-final round, Hagerstown, Md. came up just short.

Having to win and score at least 12 runs to advance, Maryland could only get halfway there, scoring six times with the help of back-to-back-to-back home runs in the third, en route to a 6-4 win against Lake Charles, La.

It was all for not in front of 12,900 fans at Howard J. Lamade Stadium as Louisiana moves on to Thursday’s U.S. semifinal due to the tie-breaker of the runs-allowed ratio.

Louisiana, Washington and Maryland all had 2-1 records in Pool A. Louisiana had the lowest ratio to garner first place, and Washington defeated Maryland head-to-head to finish in second.

“We knew it was going to be a bear for us to score enough runs for the formula to work in our favor,” admitted Maryland manager Bill Abeles, Jr.

Maryland’s Ryan Byard hit a two-run homer over the left field fence to open the scoring in the third. Andrew Yacyk and Zane Schreiber followed with two towering blasts over the left-center field wall, making it three consecutive home runs to give Maryland a 4-0 lead.

“Well, it was a good feeling knowing it was going to go out,” Byard said of his home run. “At first I thought it was going to hit the yellow and I was going to be mad, but it didn’t.”

Maryland continued its hot hitting in the fourth, scoring two runs on three hits, which proved to be enough to win the game, but not advance.

“We just wanted to go out there and have fun in our last game as Little Leaguers,” Grunberg said.

It was a relaxed atmosphere in the media room after the game with the kids from Maryland. Great defensive plays by Grunberg and Byard will give the team reasons to watch the highlights on ESPN.

Louisiana came back late to put up four runs in the sixth, but fell short in their quest for a perfect 3-0 record in pool play.

“My main thing is self-esteem, not only as ball players, but as individuals,” said Louisiana manager Charlie Phillips. “Let this be a lesson and learn from it.”

Louisiana will have a day off tomorrow before facing Tampa, Florida Thursday night in its U.S. semi-final matchup.

When asked about his plans for their day off, Phillips said he could only think of tonight to “Leave here and go up the hill and hug my wife and kids.”

The Mid-Atlantic champs will depart tomorrow for Hagerstown, as school is starting for most kids. When asked about memories he would take from South Williamsport, Schreiber said, “Just having fun, playing games and meeting people from around the world.”

In the other U.S. semifinal Wednesday night, Hawaii will take on Washington.

 


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