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Hagerstown's Federal All-Stars advance to Little League World Series

August 13, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

View the Federal Little League slideshow

BRISTOL, Conn. -- The dream has come true.

The Federal Little League 11-12 All-Stars are going to the Little League World Series.

Behind four home runs - including two by Zane Schreiber - the Maryland state champions defeated Pennsylvania champion Devon Strafford, 8-3, Monday night to win the Mid-Atlantic Regional championship and earn a trip to Williamsport, Pa.

"It's the best feeling in the world, to know we're one of the best 16 teams in the world," winning pitcher Andrew Yacyk said. "A lot of teams don't get this chance."

Federal finished 6-0 in the regional and is 14-0 overall. Federal will play its first game in the Little League World Series on Friday at 8 p.m. against Jeffersonville, Ind., the Great Lakes champion.

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Federal is the first team from Washington County to advance to Williamsport since National Little League in 1968.

"It's been a magical week," Federal manager Bill Abeles said. "Everything we set in place with our strategy, the kids executed perfectly. If you had told me a week ago we would go undefeated through regionals, I'd have looked at you cross-eyed. The kids played great."

A couple hundred Federal supporters packed the first-base bleachers and turned the A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Leadership Training Center's Breen Field into a home away from home for the team.

"It felt really great to have a lot of people want to come up here and watch us play," Yacyk said.

Yacyk's father, Mark, was like many other Federal parents on Monday - a ball of nerves to start, and beaming with pride when it was over.

"I was rocking back and forth the whole game. It's almost a surreal experience standing here," Mark Yacyk said. "They're going to the World Series. I feel so proud of the boys for what they accomplished. There's nothing I can say to express what I feel inside."

Schreiber hit a grand slam to give Federal a 6-0 lead in the second inning. It is a moment that his mother, Gayle, will never forget.

"I've had dreams about this happening. I could tell he would be on tonight, the way he's been hitting," Gayle Schreiber said. "These kids have been together since they were 6 and 7 years old. I couldn't be more proud of them. They're all best friends and they pulled it off."

Zane Schreiber's brother Zach, who is with the Hagerstown PONY League 14 All-Stars at the PONY World Series in Washington, Pa., watched the game on TV.

"I'm so happy for him and his team to be going to the World Series," Zach Schreiber said by way of cell phone.


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