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Four more home runs help bank comeback win over D.C.

Four more home runs help bank comeback win over D.C.

August 06, 2008|By JOHNNY J. BURNHAM / The Bristol Press

BRISTOL, Conn. - Over the first two games of its stay at the Mid-Atlantic Regional, there appears to be no slowing down Hagerstown Federal's offensive attack.

With Sunday's 11-4 win over Capital City Little League out of the District of Columbia, the Maryland state champions have now outscored their opponents 23-4 on their way to an impressive 2-0 start to the tournament.

"These boys are all studs," said coach Bill Abeles Jr. of his offense, which has crossed the plate a total of 124 times during its impressive run through district, state and now regional play.

On Saturday, five home runs paved the way to victory. Sunday morning, Federal sent four more beyond the Breen Field fence.

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While Andrew Yacyk stole the show in the team's opener with three home runs in his first three at-bats, he had a little more help from his teammates in game 2. Ryan Byard (his second in as many days), Dalton Jobe and Adam Blenckstone all joined Yacyk at the home run party in the win over D.C.

But, at least through the first half inning of play, it seemed as if it was going to be anything but a celebratory day for Federal.

D.C. got to Federal starter Zane Schreiber, who allowed four hits and three walks while striking out three in three innings, for four runs in the opening frame. But, fortunately for Federal's following that made the 350-mile trip to Bristol, Schreiber shook off the rough start and settled in over the next two innings.

The combination of Schreiber, Ryan Kinter and Blenckstone gave up just one hit over the final five frames.

Trailing 4-0, Federal immediately responded in its half of the first. It took just two pitches for the Maryland champs to get on the board as Byard sent a 0-1 fastball beyond the center-field fence.

With a walk, a Schreiber single, an RBI fielder's choice from Jobe for the first of his four RBIs and a run-scoring single off the bat of Josh Moats, Federal was right back in the game, trailing by just one, 4-3.

The importance of that quick response, Abeles said, simply can't be overlooked.

"At any level you want to get right back in it and get on the board," he said. "To get that goose egg off the board really got us going. It got momentum on our side."

It was momentum that remained in Federal's dugout for the remainder of the contest as it grabbed the lead an inning later and never looked back.

After D.C. starter Liam Fischer fanned Mark Grunberg to begin the second, Byard got Federal's offense going once again, this time via a one-out single, and Yacyk was hit by a pitch, putting two on for Jobe.

He made the most of his opportunity.

Down two strikes in the count, Jobe cleared the sacks with a monster three-run homer. By the time he finished his trip around the bases with an enthusiastic hop onto home plate, the one-run deficit was now a 6-4 Federal advantage.

Yacyk's home run in the fourth and a three-run blast from Blenckstone an inning later ballooned the lead to seven.

The fast start to the tournament has Federal believing that good things are in store from here on out.

"I think we can keep on winning and compete with anyone here," Moats said with a smile.

While Abeles remains a little more cautiously optimistic than some of his players, he liked what he saw from his team Sunday - especially when trailing early.

"I'd like the players to be challenged," he said. "It was a good challenge today and they really responded. I'm very proud of them."

Federal plays Pennsylvania today at 11 a.m.

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