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These memories will last forever

August 15, 2008|By MARK KELLER

Federal Little League's postseason run has brought back some great memories from my youth.

I was part of the National Little League All-Star team in 1982 (back when there was only one all-star team per league and only one tournament). If I may say so (and I will), we had a heck of a team.

It was the first year Little League tournaments went to double-elimination format. We didn't need it to win the district title, beating Halfway, Conococheague and Oakland twice. We were grateful for double elimination in the sectional tournament after blowing a lead and losing to Northeast in the winners' bracket final. We then eliminated Brunswick in a 10-inning thriller before beating Northeast twice to win the sectional and advance to the state final in La Plata.

We met our match there, losing two straight games to Easton. We led in the first game before Easton rallied to win 7-6, then lost 9-2 in the second game. Easton went on to win the East regional and advance to the Little League World Series.

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Admittedly, my contributions to the team's success were limited. There were no "must play" rules in All-Stars at that time. You earned your way onto the team, and from there, you earned your way onto the field.

We played 11 games that postseason and I got to bat a total of five times. Five.

But I remember every single one of them vividly:

A sacrifice fly to right field against Conococheague;

A double down the right-field line in the first game against Oakland;

A ground out to second in the second game against Oakland;

A three-pitch strikeout (all curveballs) in the loss to Northeast (and I looked AWFUL);

A single right up the middle in the second loss to Easton.

Yet the fact that I spent nearly as much time in the dugout as my coaches hasn't diminished the memories I have of my time as a member of the National All-Stars. Sure, I would have liked to have played more than I did. What kid wouldn't?

But I had such a great time as a part of that team. And the memories of those tournaments will last forever, no matter how much I played or didn't play.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2332, or by e-mail at keller@herald-mail.com

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