Thurmont Little League had worked too hard against host East Frederick to let Tuesday’s win in the District 2 Little League Tournament get away.
Thurmont blew a 9-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning and trailed East Frederick 10-9 heading into the late innings. Brennen Conrad said his team was not happy with this turn of events.
“We had to settle down, concentrate,” said Conrad, Thurmont’s leadoff hitter. “We needed out batters to step up, hit the ball. We had already used up a lot of our pitching.”
So through a lot of self-motivation, Thurmont came back in the late innings, taking advantage of crucial East Frederick errors to rally back for a 17-12 win in an elimination-round game.
“As coaches, there’s only so much we can do,” Thurmont manager Rick Reeder said. “We can’t play the game for them. The good thing is they were able to figure it our for themselves.
“They knew what needed to be done. They battled back for the win.”
Thurmont advances to another elimination-round game at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Four County. Four County eliminated Montgomery County-Upper with a 13-0 win on Tuesday.
A winners bracket final is slated for Wednesday between the two remaining undefeated teams in the double-elimination tournament. Frederick National hosts Brunswick at 6 p.m. at Robert B. Staley Stadium.
Thurmont, which pounded out 17 hits against East Frederick, watched as East Frederick batted around in the fourth for 10 runs (16 batters) to take a 10-9 lead. L.J. Watkins and Darius Williams each drove in a pair of runs. Logan Koo also had two RBIs while Landon Gregory, Adriel Rosales and Evan Auge each had an RBI.
It appeared as if East East Frederick, which scored its 10th run in the fourth on a passed ball, had all the momentum. But Thurmont regrouped, scoring three runs in the fifth. Conrad had an RBI single. Lucas Reeder drove in a run when he grounded into a forceout. The third run scored on an error.
Thurmont had regained the lead at 12-10, but East Frederick’s Josh Collingham singled in a run in the bottom of the fifth, cutting Thurmont’s lead to 12-11. In the top of the sixth, Thurmont scored five unearned runs, then held East Frederick to a single run in the bottom of the sixth, preserving the win.
Conrad led Thurmont with four hits, including a pair of doubles, and two RBIs. Reeder had three hits, including a three-run home run over the fence in center field in the fourth.
Reeder wasn’t quite sure his homer had the distance to clear the fence.
“At first, I thought the center fielder was going to catch it,” he said. “But then I saw it had gone over the wall, [and] I got pretty excited.”
Brady Koenig had three hits with an RBI for Thurmont. Brayden Conrad had a two-run double in the first. Hunter Martin had three hits.
Tuesday’s game took somewhat of a toll on Thurmont’s pitching. Rick Reeder was forced to use six pitchers against East Frederick, including two key pitchers he wanted to save for Wednesday’s game against Four County.
“But you have to get to tomorrow,” he said. “We still have some good pitching left.”
Watkins finished with two hits and two RBIs for East Frederick while Gregory and Auge each had had two hits with an RBI for East Frederick.
“We just came up a little short at the end,” East Frederick manager Luke Gregory said, adding he liked the way his team came back after falling behind 9-0.