Federal jurisdiction

District 1 champions rip Conococheague to defend title

District 1 champions rip Conococheague to defend title

August 07, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

The Federal Little League 11-12 All-Stars made repeating as Maryland District 1 Tournament champions look awfully easy. Federal manager Bill Abeles insisted it was anything but.

"We said to the guys right from the start that we had two mini-goals: To stay in the winners' bracket and repeat as champs," Abeles said following Federal's four-inning, 13-0 victory over Conococheague in the championship game Tuesday evening.

"It was hard. We had a bulls-eye on our backs. I have to hand it to Conococheague, they are a very good team and we did not take them lightly."

Conococheague, which has six 11-year-old players on its squad, can be proud of its second-place finish - there's no shame in falling to a Federal squad loaded with experience. Five Federal players were part of last year's run to the state tournament, in which Federal's only two losses came against a Salisbury squad that went on to reach the Little League World Series.


"Federal has a solid ballclub. They showed up to play tonight," Conococheague manager Mike Renn said. "We're a young ballclub. They have to keep their heads up, hold them high and chalk it up to experience."

Federal, meanwhile, has a state championship to play for, beginning against the District 4 champions at Easton on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

"You get down there, and the speed elevates, the power elevates and the defense elevates," Abeles said. "The pitching neutralizes our power some. It is superb baseball down there. We're not making any predictions, we'll play hard and take it one game at a time."

Federal swept through its four District 1 games outscoring its opposition 50-8. On Tuesday, Federal hit five home runs - three in a seven-run second inning - and got a five-hit shutout from Zane Schreiber, who also got Federal's offense going with an RBI double in the first inning.

Nick Karlen led off the second with a moonball home run to center. Andrew Yacyk and Dalton Jobe had RBI singles later in the inning before Josh Moats launched a three-run homer well past the fence in right center and Josh Barron followed with a solo shot to the same spot to cap the inning.

Ryan Byard and Andrew Yacyk hit back-to-back homers in the third inning - Yacyk's blast drew oohs and aahs as it carried well past the fence in left, earning him a high-five from Conococheague shortstop Sterling Christy as Yacyk rounded the bases.

"(The home runs) relax the kids, and they're studs," Abeles said. "They're great leaders in the dugout and great friends, which helps them keep their composure.

"I think our experience was what made all the difference in the world. When other teams throw their best guys, you want kids whose hearts aren't in their throats, and we have that experience."

Schreiber allowed singles to Nick Williams, Brandon Iseminger, Jordan Stonebreaker, Riley Arnone and Connor Renn and also allowed three walks, but he worked out of jams in each of the last three innings for the shutout, stranding all eight runners.

"He hit all the spots I asked him to," Abeles said. "He is a superb pitcher. He had revenge on his mind, he was the starter when Conococheague beat us in the 9-10 tournament. These kids have been playing against each other for a while."

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