CLINTON — The Westminster 13-year-old Babe Ruth team had blazing bats in the district tournament earlier this month, scoring in double figures in three games.
But those bats cooled considerably in the 100-degree heat at Louise Cosca Regional Park in Prince George's County last night, as the Carroll County team dropped an 8-0 verdict to Upper Montgomery Athletic Club in the first round of the state tournament.
The loss drops Westminster to a losers' bracket game here at 8 p.m. tonight against Prince George's.
"The problem was that we didn't hit the ball," said Westminster coach Tony Steigerwald, whose team was held to just one hit but had numerous scoring opportunities thanks to 10 free passes issued by UMAC hurlers Ryan Miyamoto and Paul Smith.
But while Westminster, which received a bye in the first roundof the state tournament, was having a fairly easy go of it in its district games, UMAC was tested with three close contests before advancing to state play.
"We're hitting well," said UMAC coach Chris Benson, whose team had defeated Kent County, 16-2, over the weekend in the first round of the state tournament.
Still, he noted, he'd be alot happier if his pitching staff hadn't put so many Westminster runners on base via the walk.
"I don't like to see too many walks in the same inning," Benson said. "It just seems that walks always come back to haunt you."
Not yesterday evening, though.
Westminster fell behind early, but had plenty of scoring opportunities thanks to the wildness of UMAC's hurlers.
The Carroll County team received two walks in the third, fourth and sixth innings and three in the fifth, but couldn't score.
Westminster didn't get a hit until Larkin ripped a shot up the middle off the glove of Smith in the fifth, but even that two-out blast was tainted. Westminster pinch hitter Chad Lammey, who was on first, was thrown out by the center fielder on a force play at second.
UMAC's offense was paced by aggressive base running and a few timely, hard-hit balls.
Smith led off the game for UMAC with a single, then stole second and third on successive pitches.He scored on Nate Woodward's sacrifice fly to left.
Larkin then settled down, retiring six in a row after Smith's hit.
In the thirdinning, though, UMAC parlayed three hits, a stolen base and an errorinto three runs. Paul Smith drove in a run with a double, Chris Brown plated Smith with a triple, then scored when Shaun Bradley dropped a near-perfect bunt in front of home for an infield hit.
Upper Montgomery added solo runs in the fourth and sixth, though their daring base running also took UMAC out of some potential scoring situations.
Miyamoto was called out trying to steal home because of batter interference. Miyamoto also was thrown out on a rundown play after being picked off first, but he lasted long enough on the base paths to allow Ruppel to score.
"We'll give up base runners to get a run," Benson said.
UMAC closed out its scoring with a pair of runs in the seventh thanks to two hits, two errors and a hit batter.
Meanwhile, Carroll's other two teams competing here drew a split in their first two games.
The 14-15 team dropped a 12-11 game to Prince George's Saturday, but came back to drub Kent County, 19-0, in a late Mondaynight game.
"It wasn't a very pretty game," Westminster coach PatFiore said of the win.
The highlight for the Carroll team, Fiore said, was four innings of no-hit pitching by Ron Garrett.
On Saturday, Westminster fell behind, 9-0, in its tournament opener, then rallied to take an 11-9 lead in the fifth before eventually losing.
The Westminster 14-15 team plays its next game at 8 p.m. tomorrow against Prince George's North.
The 14-year-old squad, meanwhile, defeated Frederick, 12-11, in the first round Friday before losing to Prince George's North, 17-13, Sunday.
The Westminster 14 team plays at5 p.m. tonight against Kent County.