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Farmington Babe Ruth advances to finals



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CODY SYMONDS fires to second to gun down a runner stealing in action against Twin Rivers on Saturday. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 11, 2011
NEW DURHAM — The Farmington Babe Ruth All-Stars assured themselves a couple of days off by winning their first two games of the District Five tournament this weekend in New Durham.

With the two wins, Farmington advanced automatically to the finals, which were Wednesday night, after deadline.

First up on the schedule for Farmington was Twin Rivers on Saturday afternoon, July 9. Twin Rivers had defeated Kingswood in the opening game of the tournament.

Cody Symonds led off the top of the first with a walk and AJ Valladares was hit by a pitch. Symonds was gunned down trying to steal third, but a base hit by David Ford plated Valladares with the game's first run.

Kevin Radcliff got the start on the hill for Farmington and pitched around a pair of errors and a walk in the first inning, striking out two in the process.

Farmington got a two-out infield hit from Greg Merkey in the bottom of the second, but couldn't plate the run. Radcliff struck out the side in the bottom of the inning.

Symonds led off with a base hit in the top of the third, but was called out for not touching second on his way back to first on a fly ball that was caught in center.

Radcliff gave up a two-out double in the bottom of the third, but struck out the next hitter to get out of trouble.

Farmington went in order in the fourth and in the bottom of the inning, Twin Rivers put a runner on base with one out. However, Symonds gunned him out stealing, getting a nice play by Ford to get the tag on the runner.

Brandon Hilman led off the top of the fifth with a triple to the fence in right centerfield. Merkey walked and stole second and Reggie Pennell reached on an error to bring home Hilman with the game's second run. Symonds then drove in a run with a groundout. Valladares walked and a wild pitch scored Pennell for a 4-0 lead.

Radcliff struck out two more in the fifth and got some defensive help from Symonds in the sixth. The Farmington catcher gunned down one runner stealing second and made a nice play on a dribbler in front of the plate.

Radcliff then struck out two more in the seventh to close out the game with the 4-0 win.

Farmington returned to the field on Sunday to take on North Country, who had defeated MWV on Saturday.

The game was a back and forth battle the entire way and it took some late heroics for Farmington to come away with the win.

Symonds, who played a good chunk of the game with tissues in his nose to fight off a persistent bloody nose, led off the first reaching on error. One out later, Ford also reached on an error and a Radcliff base hit plated the game's first run. A fielder's choice by Merkey allowed another run to score and a base hit by John Barnes plated another run for a 3-0 lead. A throwing error after a pop out led to another run and Kevin Poulin walked. Connor Leahy followed with a line drive down the right field line, but Barnes was cut down at the plate for the inning's final out.

North Country took advantage of an error and a walk in the bottom of the first against Poulin, plating one run, but a nice defensive play by Leahy at first helped him get out of trouble.

Farmington went in order in the second and Poulin pitched around a pair of hits in the second.

Radcliff led off the top of the third with a base hit, but was erased on a force play by Merkey. Barnes followed with a base hit and a groundout by Hilman plated another run for a 5-1 lead. A base hit by Poulin brought home another and it was 6-1 in favor of Farmington.

North Country battled back in the bottom of the third, taking advantage of some walks, a base hit and a wild pitch to plate five runs. Ford took over pitching duties with two outs and got the final batter with a strikeout.

Farmington answered in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Ford reached on an error and stole second. Radcliff walked and both runners stole. Back-to-back walks to Merkey and Barnes plated another run and Farmington led 7-5.

Ford sent North Country down in order in the fourth and in the top of the fifth, Farmington added to the lead. Poulin reached on an error and moved up on a groundout by Leahy. One out later, Travis Drapeau delivered a base hit for an 8-5 lead. Ford followed with a base hit, but both runners were stranded.

North Country fought its way back in the bottom of the fifth. After Ford started the frame with a pair of strikeouts, four hits and a hit batsman allowed North Country to plate four runs and take a 9-8 lead.

Barnes reached on an error with one out in the top of the sixth, but he was stranded. North Country added a run in the bottom of the inning before Ford struck out the final two batters to get out of trouble.

North Country got the first out in the top of the seventh, but Farmington wasn't done. Symonds had a base hit and Valladares was hit by a pitch. Ford reached on an error to load the bases and Radcliff laced a double down the line in left to tie the game at 10. David Nickerson followed with a base hit to push across the go-ahead run and Barnes worked a walk. Hilman then drove in another run with a base hit and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Poulin made it 13-10 before North Country got out of the inning.

Ford allowed a walk in the bottom of the seventh, but pitched around it and Farmington had the 13-10 win.

The win put Farmington in the championship game after deadline on Wednesday.

The Farmington team is coached by Dave Valladares, Joe Symonds and John Hilman. The roster includes Cody Symonds, AJ Valladares, David Ford, Kevin Radcliff, Kevin Poulin, Connor Leahy, Brandon Hilman, Greg Merkey, Reggie Pennell, John Barnes, David Nickerson and Travis Drapeau.

Garnett Hill
Penny Pitou
Martin Lord Osman
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