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Sports

Bullskin locks up District 9 title

| Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Little League District 9 major division title has finally been awarded.

After Connellsville worked its way through the loser's bracket to hand Bullskin its first tournament loss Monday, everything came down to Tuesday's game. Bullskin's 11- and 12-year-old all-stars came back from the previous day's loss to play a near-perfect game on the way to a 4-0 win.

"They earned it. They've worked hard for a month," Bullskin manager Scott Bernhardt said. "They dedicated their whole summer to this, and it showed."

Bullskin pitcher Devon Geary earned accolades from both teams' coaches for his complete-game one-hitter. Geary had six strikeouts and also blasted a solo home run for Bullskin's first run of the game.

"We didn't hit the ball," Connellsville coach John Malone said. "Geary pitched a great game, and when you don't put the ball in play, you don't win."

Scott Bernhardt said Geary came through in a big way for his team.

"He pitched, and he came through with a big hit when we needed it," he said. "'Diesel' came to play."

So did the rest of the team. First baseman Mark Stairs was busy making a couple of putouts in the first inning before Connellsville's Johnny Malone came to the plate for his team's only hit of the game. He launched the ball into left field and tried to stretch his single into a double, but was picked off at second, thanks to a nice throw from Garrett Brooks.

That brought up Bullskin's half of the inning, and Connellsville pitcher Andy Shroyer started strong, fanning the first two batters. But Geary rocketed a shot off the roof of the concession stand. Malone made a nice stop on the next batter's ground ball for the third out, limiting Bullskin to a 1-0 lead.

Alan Hollis made it 2-0, when he got aboard on an error in the second inning and scored on Stairs' base hit. Then, in the fifth, Daniel Dix hit a soft single back toward the mound and went to second on an error that let Hunter Eutsey reach first. Cameron Bernhardt drove in both runners with a double, and Bullskin retired the side in order in the top of the sixth to put the game away.

Shroyer finished with eight strikeouts in the loss.

"Shroyer pitched a great game," John Malone said. "I'm proud of every one of these guys. They're the best kids I've ever coached."

Scott Bernhardt said Cameron Bernhardt's big hit was a nice ending to a well-played game.

"He had a nice hit to score those two runs, and we played perfect defense," he said. "Geary threw strikes, and we made the plays."

Bullskin advances to the Section 1 tournament and will play State College at 3 p.m. Thursday in Center City.

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