BRUNSWICK -- Mark Tarleton had a hard time at first convincing his Brunswick Little League 11-12 team it wasn't running out of time against West Salisbury Friday in the state championship game.
"I don't think the team realized, when we were down 2-1 in the fifth, we were still in this game," he said. "Even when they scored those two runs to go up 4-1, we still had a shot at it."
Standing in the way, however, was the pitching of Grason Winterbottom and Matt Chrysostone.
The pair combined on a two-hitter with eight strikeouts, leading West Salisbury to a 4-1 win and the state championship.
Following Friday's loss, the mood was somber, yet somewhat upbeat in the Brunswick dugout. What Tarleton saw was a team different than the won which had suffered a disastrous second-round loss to Clear Spring
"We didn't quit," he said. "We hung in there, we kept going, but we were up against a very good West Salisbury team."
The host team battled back through the elimination bracket, avenging a loss to Clear Spring Thursday, earning a spot in Friday's championship. Brunswick needed a win to force an extra game to determine the state champion.
Instead, Brunswick ran into a West Salisbury team which didn't panic when it gave up a leadoff home run to Tyler Ebberts in the last of the first inning to fall behind, 1-0.
Salisbury came back with a pair of runs in the second to take the lead and maintain it the rest of the way.
Malike Johnson led off with a double. Chrysostone followed with a two-run home run off Brunswick starter Aaron Fitzwater.
"We didn't panic either," Tarleton said. "After the home run, we just moved on to the next batter."
Brunswick held West Salisbury scoreless through the third and fourth before giving up two runs in the fifth on RBI singles from Cade Hurley and Winterbottom.
Other than Ebberts' leadoff homer in the first and a two-out double by Zach Heffner in the second, there was little Brunswick was able to do against the Winterbottom-Chrysostone combination.
Winterbottom pitched the first two innings. Chrysostone went the rest of the way, holding Brunswick hitless.
"Chrysostone was throwing gas out there," Tarleton said. "He had good control of his pitches."
Fitzwater pitched until the sixth. Brittany Walker came on with a runner on base, retiring all three batters she faced.
Hurley led West Salisbury with two hits and an RBI.
"I think you had the two best teams out there today," Tarleton said. "We've got nothing to be ashamed of."