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Royals treatment

Local team headed to N.Y. for regional tournament

Local team headed to N.Y. for regional tournament

July 21, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

The Maryland Royals 19U baseball team, comprised mostly of local high school and college talent, will head to Troy, N.Y., for the American Amateur Baseball Congress North Atlantic Connie Mack Regional Tournament beginning Wednesday.

The Royals went 18-12 in the Baltimore-Metro Baseball senior division, finishing fifth.

"The thing that I see with our league is you see quality pitching every game," Royals coach Mark May said. "That's why our record reflects it. Every game, you have to come with your 'A' game because you're going to see a top-level pitcher. This league is probably the top league in the area."

Despite the Royals' relative inexperience - the team has just one player back from last year and just three who are 19 - they rebounded from a slow start to win eight straight games in midseason and earn a postseason berth.

"It's hard every year because of graduation and senior week, it's actually two to three weeks in before we have our whole team," May said. "Once we got them all together and started playing as a team, we were pretty unbeatable."

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The Royals are led offensively by Tim Leather (.406, 17 doubles), Aaron Mills (.374), Brendan McLaughlin (.359) and Tim Hamilton (.333). Kyle Hoffman leads the Royals with five victories on the mound, while Andrew Blickenstaff and Spencer Cromer share the strikeout lead with 24 each, with Hoffman (22), Calvin Lewis (20) and David O'Brien (20) right behind.

However, it's the defensive side of things where May said the Royals truly shine.

"It's unbelievable," May said. "I have one of the fastest outfields I've ever coached, with (Jeremy) Shackelford, Mills and O'Neill. I've seen some spectacular catches by our outfield this year. ... Third baseman Tim Leather, he's a top player, Hamilton at short, McLaughlin at second, I think we've turned maybe 10 double plays this season."

The winner of the North Atlantic region will advance to the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, N.M., beginning Aug. 3.

The Royals are a non-profit organization accepting donations for their upcoming trip to regionals. Those interested can mail donations to the Maryland Royals, P.O. Box 498, Hagerstown, MD 21741.

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