The Starting Five

Youth Sports

The final countdown

by on Jul.27, 2011, under Miscellaneous, Youth Sports

We have arrived to the championship round of the Maryland 11-12 State Little League tournament after Conococheague knocked out Northern Calvert 8-4 on Wednesday night at Maugansvile Little League’s Jay W. Stouffer Field.
Two are left standing: Thursday night a 6 Conococheague begins the task of having to defeat Elkton not only once, but again on Friday to claim a state championship, one it last claimed in 2009.
While Elkton has churned out three victories without defeat, Conococheague has won three games in the losers’ bracket following a loss Sunday to Northern Calvert.
On Wednesday, it was a different story with the bats. A four-run first inning boosted the locals and Levi Taylor pitched 5 2/3 innings for the win.
We’ve had fun streaming each and every game of the tournament live on our website and if you’ve tuned in at any time, hope that you’ve enjoyed view and the play-by-play. We’ll be at it again tonight and if necessary, on Friday also.
The tournament itself, under the direction of District Adminstrator Larry Hammond and his crew of game directors, along with Maugansville Little League president Kelly Colbert and his volunteers from within, have done a marvelous job with the state tournament.
They have proven that the choice of Maugansville as a host site was not a mistake.

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Almost to the day

by on Jun.30, 2010, under Youth Sports

Wednesday’s visit to Sharpsburg Little League for the Maugansville-Sharpsburg 9-10 District 1 tournament game started out harmlessly. Two hours, 45 minutes later, the game had not come to a conclusion as the teams battled to an 18-18 deadlock.
As the sixth inning unfolded, District 1 Administrator Larry Hammond beat me to be punch. As I was thinking of it, Hammond mentioned it.
One year and one day ago, it was the District 1 9-10 “all-nighter” at West End.
American beat West End 27-16 in a game that last more than 3 hours, 47 minutes, featured 40 walks and over 400 thrown pitches. Covering the game, it was a night that went beyond belief.
If there would have been lights at Sharpsburg, who knows. Maybe they’d have been playing all night. Instead, the seventh inning takes place Thursday at 6.

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Crazy shot by 9-year-old

by on Oct.17, 2009, under Youth Sports

Even a non-hockey fan like me can appreciate this. Wow!

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Little League DVD

by on Aug.19, 2009, under Miscellaneous, Youth Sports

If you are a Little League baseball fan of the locals, then you might want to purchase a special DVD now available from The Herald-Mail.

Lesa Selders, our digital content specialist, has put together a DVD of the 2009 Maryland District 1 Tournament. It features games from district tournaments that were filmed during the course of competition.

It is available for $35 and can be purchased by contacting Lesa Selders at 301-733-5131, ext. 2350 or by email– lesas@herald-mail.com

It’s a worthy momento!

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The $10,000 question

by on Aug.07, 2009, under Youth Sports

In 2008, Federal Little League’s All-Star team took a once-in-a-lifetime ride, advancing all the way to the Little League World Series.

Everybody got caught up in the excitement. It had been 40 years since a Washington County team made it to Williamsport, Pa.

Heck, just winning the Maryland State Tournament was a rarity. Federal became the first county team in 18 years to pull off that feat and move on to the Mid-Atlantic Regional in Bristol, Conn.

(continue reading…)

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A Waldorf Friday

by on Jul.31, 2009, under Youth Sports

Friday turned out to be an interesting 11-hour day.

The assignment: Conococheague vs. Hughesville in the Maryland 11-12 All-Star tournament in Waldorf, a nifty 100-plus miles to the south, of course through the traffic-terrible Beltway. Smartly, I planned on leaving Hagerstown at the latest by 1 p.m. will H-M photog Ric Dugan. No way did I want any part of a Friday traffic pattern later in the afternoon.

And with the morning rains in Hagerstown, the thought was it would be the same to the south. But not a drip had fallen until sudden clouds erupted around 3:45, not long after we had arrived. As we were securing an internet connection at Panera’s, it just let loose and no way did I think a game scheduled for 6 would be played. Better start looking for a hotel that’s not booked. Although the rains were heavy, they lasted in spurts until 4:45. (continue reading…)

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A heckuva month

by on Aug.20, 2008, under Youth Sports

On July 20 Federal Little League’s District 1 champions began what was about to become a one-month journey that will be forever etched in the minds of the players.
In nearly a 30-day period, Federal marched to the state championship, the Mid-Atlantic Regional championship and a berth in the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa.
Each of the participants had best run out to the nearest store and pick up some heavy duty scrapbooks — they’ve got a ton of memories to fill them with, especially from the World Series.
We’ve chronicled the team game-by-game all the way through to the end, which ended tonight despite a 6-4 win over Lousiana. Federal missed out on the semifinals due to a differential negative in runs as three teams finished 2-1 in pool play.
For the sports department at The Herald-Mail, and for the news department also, Federal’s success brought about a different element at this time of year. Usually, we’re in full bore with nothing to think about except fall sports. But not this year. For four weeks, and especially the last few days during the LLWS, Federal had Hagerstown in the palm of its hands.
A loss doesn’t sit easy with youngsters and not making the semifinals won’t either. But the fact Federal was one of 8 remaining teams in the United States, that’s absolutely amazing.
I don’t know what will happen the remainder of the sports year locally, but this one wins hands down as the top sports story.

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Federal advances to final

by on Aug.08, 2008, under Youth Sports

It’s in the books: Federal 10, Bordentown, N.J., 0 in 3 1/2 innings.

Federal hit five more home runs to boost its total to 41 in 13 games, all victories. Ryan Byard hit a a solo homer in the second and a three-run shot to make it 10-0 in the third. Zane Schreiber hit a 3-run shot and Josh Barron a two-run shot in the first inning, and Dalton Jobe added a solo shot in the second.

Federal will face the New York/Pennsylvania winner on Monday at 8 p.m. in a game televised by ESPN2. Andrew Yacyk — the left-hander who threw a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts in his only other start in the regional tournament — will get the start for Federal.

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Greetings from Bristol, Conn.

by on Aug.07, 2008, under Youth Sports

There’s an old media rule that’s been adhered to, with few exceptions, for decades:

“No cheering in the press box.”

It’s there for a reason: As reporters our job is to report what happens objectively and accurately. Our job is to make readers who weren’t there feel as if they were, from as unbiased a perspective as possible. And I’ll do that to the best of my ability this weekend.

But I’m not going to lie: I’m pulling for Federal Little League.

The same way I pull for every area high school team that reaches a state championship game.

It’s just a better story, and a more enjoyable one to write, when the local team wins. The hugs, the smiles, the satisfaction in the players’ faces — what’s not to love?

And what’s not to love about the story of this Federal team?

Federal is two wins away from becoming the first Washington County Little League to reach the Little League World Series since National in 1968. American was the last team before Federal to win the state title, in 1990.

Think about this: Until last year, Federal had never won a district title. Now they’re knocking on the door of Little League’s grandest stage. They’re the No. 1 seed in the Mid-Atlantic Regional semifinals. So far, they’ve been the best team in a six-state area (Maryland, Delaware, D.C., New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania). That’s incredible.

Two more wins won’t come easy. New Jersey — which Federal faces Friday at 3 p.m. — led Federal 6-0 in Wednesday’s pool-play game before Federal rallied for an 8-7 victory. And both New York and Pennsylvania — which play in the other semifinal — are formidable teams. Federal beat Pennsylvania 7-4 on Monday in a tough game.

But Federal, as you may have heard by now, is formidable in its own right. Federal has averaged 11.6 runs and three home runs per game. Nine of its 12 players have homered at least once, eight at least twice and five at least four times. I’ve watched plenty of Little League World Series games over the years, and I’m confident that Federal will not run into a better offensive team this year.

My question going into states and beyond was, did Federal have enough pitching other than Andrew Yacyk, a tall lefty who has been nearly unhittable — he’s an ace in every sense. The answer so far has been yes. Zane Schreiber has been very good as the team’s No. 2 starter — he pitched and won the state championship game against a very good Easton team — and the rest of the pitchers have been good enough, with this offense behind them, to keep Federal undefeated. Now Schreiber is ready to start Friday and Yacyk — barring an emergency relief appearance Friday — will be ready for the final should Federal get there.

The pieces are in place for a historic weekend. Here’s a question: If Federal advances to the Little League World Series, where does that rank among the top Washington County sports stories of all time? In my opinion, this would be the biggest story in my 10 years at The Herald-Mail. Over the last week, we’ve been inundated by calls from people all over the county asking about the results of Federal’s pool-play games. When our phones are ringing off the hook like that (and it doesn’t happen that often), you know a team has captured widespread interest.

But talk of a World Series appearance is putting the cart before the horse — and that’s one thing Federal’s coaches have been great at not doing. From Day 1 of this whole journey, they’ve kept the kids’ focus on what’s next. I hear the saying “We’ll take it one game at a time” more than any other in interviews (and that’s fine, if I was a coach I’d say the same), but Federal has taken it even further. Its mantra has been “Win the next inning.” That’s perfect — it keeps the kids in the moment. Especially now — when the hype machine is really going to crank up (and yes, I’ll be leading it) — getting the kids to focus on the next at-bat or the next pitch is essential.

Make no mistake about it: Federal Little League has proven it has the talent to reach to World Series.

That, in and of itself, is pretty amazing.

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Little League at its best

by on Jul.10, 2008, under Youth Sports

I always enjoy going to Little League games and this year is no different.
And there is nothing like walking into a venue that is really smelling good — the aroma of food.
Federal hosted Thursday’s game against Conococheague and right away my nostrils were catching the grilled flavor of hot dogs, hamburgers and sausage.
Roger Munson was the chef handling the chores and doing a fine job at it!

In addition, the usual 50-50 tickets were selling at a rapid pace.

And, there was a familiar face wearing ‘blue’ and manning the third base position as an umpire.
Phil Baker has now worked Little League games on a volunteer basis for 40 years. Looks good and he said he still enjoys the game.

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