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Federal, PONY successes make Schreiber family kings of the road games

August 10, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

BRISTOL, Conn. - How's this for a road trip: From Hagerstown to Easton, Md., then to Brockton, Mass., from there to Bristol, Conn., and then to Washington, Pa. - and possibly a final trip to Williamsport, Pa.?

Welcome to the Schreibers' Summer of 2008 Family Baseball Tour.

The dilemma proud parents Ed and Gayle Schreiber have faced this summer - how to follow their two sons, Zach (14) and Zane (12), as their teams - the Hagerstown PONY League 14 All-Stars and the Federal Little League 11-12 All-Stars - have made tournament runs onto the regional and national stage.

Zach and the PONY All-Stars will play their first game in the PONY World Series today in Washington, Pa.

Zane and the Federal All-Stars will play in the Mid-Atlantic Regional final on Monday night on ESPN2, with a Little League World Series berth and a trip to Williamsport, Pa., on the line.

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Schreibers, start your engines!

"Last weekend, Zach was in Brockton, Mass., and we traveled there first," Ed Schreiber said while watching Zane practice Saturday. "Once they won, we came here. We'll leave here Tuesday morning and travel 8 1/2 hours to see (Zach's) game. It's a lot of proud moments. We never had seen this coming, which is kind of good. If you hope for something like this, it never happens.

"We have a chance to be in two World Series at the same time. It's a good chaos."

"It's crazy, but it's a good crazy," Gayle Schreiber said. "I couldn't think of a better way to spend my summer. It's been an amazing ride with the kids. ... Every summer, their granddad takes them to the Little League World Series, and you sit there and you think how wonderful an experience it would be to make it there."

Zach and the rest of the Hagerstown PONY team participated in opening ceremonies Saturday afternoon - an experience Zach described as "surreal" in a telephone interview.

"I'm sitting in the stands and we just did opening ceremonies. I can't believe I'm here," Zach said. "If Zane gets to the (Little League) World Series, that'd be just a blessing. It doesn't happen often, so for both of us to do it at the same time would be awesome."

Zach admitted he gave his mother a hard time about the traveling.

"I told my mom the other day, 'I think you're starting to get good at this packing stuff,'" Zach said. "I think they're enjoying it. I'm glad they're trying to see both of us play at the same time. I know it's hard."

Zane said he wished he could see his brother play, and that his and his teammates' focus is on making a World Series of their own.

"We're just trying our hardest to get there," Zane said. "I support my brother all the way, however far he goes."

Federal manager Bill Abeles Jr. said it's not hard to see why Zach and Zane are having such success.

"The family are childhood friends of mine and the kids are so rooted," Abeles said. "The parents are both good athletes, and they taught that commitment to excellence to their kids. That makes it a lot easier to coach them."

Zane is one of five Federal players who was on last year's team that reached the state tournament. Abeles said he played well that year and has only improved, both at the plate (seven homers in All-Star play) and on the mound (wins in the state final and regional semifinal).

"He's been clutch, both last year and this year," Abeles said. "He was 11 last year in the state tournament and hit a couple of home runs. He's a heck of a clutch hitter."

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