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Uptown comes home with 9th place
"A wild ride came to a halt for the Uptown Auto Body Mickey Mantle baseball team last weekend.The South Kitsap-based select team reached the quarterfinals of the 61-team USSSA 15-U Major World Championships in Winterhaven, Fla., but lost its final two games to finish ninth.The nine-day tournament concluded Sunday.Uptown earned a spot in the 16-team championship bracket after winning its pool with a 2-1 record.Uptown opened the tournament with a 6-3 win against Illinois state champion Roselle Raptors, of Chicago.After following up with a 12-3 loss to the Columbus Cobras, from California, Uptown rebounded with the biggest win of the week against Apopka, Fla., a two-time defending national champion.The team edged Apopka 5-4 in a 14-inning marathon that lasted more than five hours.Uptown held a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning before Apopka scored two runs in the bottom of the inning to force extra innings.No runs were scored by either team until the fourth. Uptown coach Lenie Hamm said big-time plays on defense saved the team from making an early exit out of the tournament.In the eighth inning Apopka had two runners on base when an Apopka hitter roped a shot into right field.Josh Shadbolt dove straight forward under the ball and made the catch, Hamm said. He then threw out the runner at second base who had run to third base.In the ninth inning third baseman Aaron Cunningham converted an unassisted double play.With a runner on second base in the 11th inning, second baseman Cullen Hamm saved the game with a diving catch up the middle and then threw out the runner at second base who was on his way for third.After recording two outs in the 12th inning, Uptown allowed back-to-back singles.The next batter ripped a tailing ball down the leftfield line, but Stephan Lugar, in a full sprint, made a diving catch to end another Apopka threat.Uptown put two runs on the board in the top of the 14th.Kelly ripped a 350-foot run-scoring single and Chris Anderson added an RBI-single.Apopka loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning and scored a run on a Derek Abad walk.But Abad recovered and enduced a groundout to end the game.Kyle Howe pitched three scoreless innings, Ricky Kohlmeirer pitched seven innings in relief. Josh Fullington, Nick Hoffman, and Abad combined to pitch the final four innings.Fresh off the win, Uptown, the No. 14 seed, opened up the 16-team championship bracket with a 5-1 against No. 3 seed Twin City Titans, of Minneapolis, Minn.Howe gave up one run in four innings for the win. Reid Kessler followed with three scoreless innings.Abad led the offense with 3 RBI.Brent Nickerson and Lugar each added run scoring singles.Uptown lost its next two games to end their tournament run. "