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What if? Thats the best way to describe the season for the Midville Dodgers junior squad. Fresh off a heartbreaking last inning loss in the NABF Regionals, Midville had one more shot at the prize when they faced the Brooklyn Bonnies in the Metro Federation finals at beautiful Keyspan Park in Coney Island.
In one of the most exciting games of the year and the Dodgers have had their share of nailbiters the Brooklyn Bonnies edged Midville by pushing across a run in the ninth inning for a wild 4-3 win.
The Bonnies sent Christ the King righty Jose Duverge, while the Dodgers countered with McClancy ace Kevin Conlin.
Conlin had a rocky start, giving up three straight hits, but was aided by centerfielder Denson Ambrose, who gunned out a runner attempting to go from first to third on a single to center. But Conlin did not escape without some damage, as two Dodger errors allowed two runs to score. On one of the plays, third baseman Andrew Pheffer cleanly fielded a grounder and threw a strike to catcher Mark Burik in plenty of time to catch the runner, who somehow managed to elude the catchers tag.
When the smoke cleared the Bonnies had put the Dodgers in a three-run hole.
But Conlin settled down and retired 17 of the next 21 batters he faced. Meanwhile, the Dodgers scratched and clawed their way back. Pheffer singled and, after a walk, scored on two Duverge wild pitches. The Dodgers added another run thanks to a single by Ambrose, a stolen base and a Bonnie error. The Dodgers tied the game in the sixth and had a chance to win it in the seventh and eighth, but failed both times to come up with the winning hit.
With one out in the ninth, the Bonnies put a runner on third, thanks to a triple down the first base line. The next batter lined a ball in the gap which leftfielder Frank Russo appeared to catch, but as he came up to throw the ball it popped out of his glove. The runner scored from third, but the batter was called out after he walked into the dugout thinking Russo caught the ball.
The Dodgers threatened in the bottom of the ninth when, with one out, Tom Maser lined a bullet to right field, but a great diving catch put the Bonnies one out away from the championship.
Midvilles Denson Ambrose singled and scampered to third on a single by Vinny Johnson. On the throw to third Johnson hustled into second and represented the winning run. But Duverge reached back and struck out Frank Russo on a 2-2 curve ball to dash Dodgers hopes.
Duverge pitched an outstanding complete game six-hitter to pick up the victory. Conlin also pitched a complete game five-hitter and was the hard luck loser.
©2002 Community Newspaper Group
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