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Connellsville outslugs Greenville

| Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Major League Baseball held its All-Star Home Run Derby Monday night, and so did Little League.

The Connellsville 11- and 12-year-old all-stars traded big hits with Greenville in their Section 2 tournament match-up, with each team clubbing three home runs. But host Connellsville got the edge on the scoreboard, winning, 15-11.

Connellsville manager Scott Kirsch said he feels "blessed" to coach such a talented team.

"What a slugfest. I'm very gifted to have a team like this," he said. "It's unreal, the hitting and pitching that we have."

Scott Kirsch relied on his several strong pitchers throughout the District 9 tournament, and he used three of them in yesterday's win. Jade Maher pitched four innings, allowing just one hit in the first three frames, before giving way to Jimmy DeMarco, then Brad Medvec.

Meanwhile, Greenville starter Lucas Houpt and relievers Tyler Fattman, Matt Jones and Kendal King picked up their share of strikeouts, but the offensive fireworks overshadowed the pitching efforts.

Houpt sat Connellsville down in order in the first inning, and Fattman lit the offensive fuse with a one-out double in the bottom of the frame. Houpt drove him in to give Greenville, the designated home team, a 1-0 edge.

Connellsville fought back in the second, as Medvec's two-run double put his team up by a run. But the fireworks didn't truly erupt until the top of the third, when Connellsville used a solo home run from Mike Parlak and a three-run shot from Austin Heinbaugh to grab a big lead. Parlak sent a second solo homer over the left-field fence in the fourth to give Connellsville a 9-1 lead.

Greenville was down, but not done. A two-run single from Andy Jones in the bottom of the fourth got the team right back in the game, and though Dan Leonard singled and scored for Connellsville in the fifth, Greenville continued to close the gap. A two-run long ball from Houpt and a solo homer from King in the latter part of the fifth left Greenville trailing just 10-8.

Connellsville settled for doubles in the sixth, but it still managed to put up five runs. Evan Onusko and Jimmy Leichliter each came through with a two-run double, and Tanner Kirsch added an RBI two-bagger to put Connellsville in front, 15-8.

King launched a two-out, two-run home run in Greenville's last at-bat to highlight a three-run inning, but Medvec came up with a big strikeout to preserve Connellsville's victory.

"Every single person did something," Scott Kirsch said. "Every kid on this team produced something tonight."

Connellsville will take on Moon Township, which defeated Ligonier Valley yesterday, at 7 p.m. today, and both Medvec and DeMarco, as well as Mike Parlak, are still able to pitch. In fact, Scott Kirsch said Moon Township also has solid pitching, making for a good match-up.

"Maybe we'll see a pitcher's duel instead of a slugfest," he said.

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