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Parasiliti: Federal history is starting point to new dreams

June 24, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI
  • Bob Parasiliti
Bob Parasiliti

History is allegedly a thing of the past.

Many people don’t like living back there. In some cases, reliving and honoring days gone by softens the drive for future achievements.

But in other ways, it also defines those times.

The fact is, everything starts somewhere. Some sort of history — albeit personal, family, ancient or contemporary — always allows yesterday the avenue to affect what happened today.

Maybe, that’s why history is known to repeat itself.

A new page in history opened this weekend as many of Washington County’s 9- and 10-year-old baseball players got their first real taste of playoff pressure with the start of the Maryland District 1 Little League All-Star Tournament.

Twelve organizations put their age-group best on the field to chase at least local and possibly state and national glory.

Some instances will be both historical and memorable, at least to someone on some level. It might be a meaningful second to reflect on in years to come or it might be the moment that begins to shape or start a career.

No one knows when history will be recorded.

One of the venues that enjoys some local baseball history is Federal Little League, nestled in its out-of-the-way place off Northern Avenue and adjacent to North Hagerstown High’s athletic fields.

Federal is one of the sites in the county — outside of maybe Municipal Stadium — that is the closest thing to a baseball shrine. It made its mark in 2008 when its group of 11- and 12-year-olds advanced to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

It is a house that Federal baseball built, but Mid-Atlantic baseball enshrined.

You can’t miss that as you enter the complex as there is the 2008 team picture hanging on the back of the first-base dugout. Alongside is the team’s “road to the World Series,” which gives a record of its 16-1 record in which it outscored its opponents 171-56.

On Saturday, 9- and 10-year-olds from Federal and Hancock played on the hallowed ground in a district winners’ bracket quarterfinal game.

Those historic days that came four years ago are already too far back for these players to remember.

It didn’t matter. Many have played in Fenway Park and old Yankee Stadium without any recollection of Babe Ruth, either.

They may not have known it, but it was time for these players to start writing their own baseball history. The only thing is it will be in crayon instead of ink.

The past had little bearing as Federal and Hancock prepared for this game.

There wasn’t a ripple of nostalgia as Hancock was instructed and coached about the use of a new first-base system by longtime volunteer umpire Denny Hockensmith, who started his career several histories ago. Hancock was intent on learning.

Neither team was aware of the past as each player was introduced to the crowd, yet there were different demeanors.

Hancock had that “deer in the headlights” look as it prepared to play its first game in the tournament.

Over on Federal’s side, it was more relaxed with high-fives and fist bumps as each player charged to the third-base line. They were veterans, compared to Hancock, as they had all of one tournament game under their belts already.

They were happy and smiling while Federal manager Tim Kolb did the obligatory mile of pacing while anticipating the start of the game.

Federal, playing as the visiting team, instantly turned the game into a karaoke contest with their cheers that seemed of come from a jukebox.

They sang support by regaling with renditions of “Who Let The Dogs Out” and “We Will Rock You” along with the more recent pop hits of “We Are Young” and “Sexy And I Know It” (which is a little disturbing at that age group).

Hancock tried to turn it into a battle of the bands, but its range was a little sapped after allowing four runs in the top of the first.

Still, it was unbridled enthusiasm for baseball that seems to wane as players get older. Cheers turn to chatter before becoming just casual words of encouragement as the game becomes more of a job.

Yet, there were bits of drama to appease those history buffs.

Federal’s Ben Caldwell and Ian Selby provided some with back-to-back, RBI doubles with two outs in the first. Then Brayden Quirple hit a two-run homer in the second inning for Federal, a bit of redemption after failing to drive in runs in his first at-bat.

The game ended in a 13-2 win for Federal. Federal advances in the winners’ bracket and Hancock is forced to battle another day in the losers’ bracket.

Those results will be marked down for history’s sake.

But in the end, they may only be a footnote in another epic which may eventually rival the one of 2008 at Federal Little League.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at bobp@herald-mail.com.

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