Federal set to represent Maryland at Eastern Regional

July 27, 2012|By TIM KOELBLE |

Carrying the Maryland banner as 9-10 Little League state champion, Federal starts all over again with a 0-0 won-loss record as it readies for the Eastern Regional in Cranston, R.I.

After an opening-game loss in the state tournament, Federal roared back to win six straight games, including the 11-1 clincher over Frederick National.

“We’re carrying a big banner with a big challenge,” said Federal manager Tim Kolb, who headed to Cranston on Friday for a pre-tournament meeting and will be joined by his team Saturday.

Opening ceremonies are at 6 p.m. Saturday, and then it’s down to business.

With its first-ever District 1 and Maryland state 9-10 titles in the bag, Federal is set for its opening game against Delaware on Sunday morning at 10:30.

With a couple of practice sessions between the state and regional tournaments, Kolb has had some time to talk to his troops about the bigger and brighter stage of the regional.

“They have to realize the best teams from other states are here too,” said Kolb. “The state was a challenge, but this challenge will be one they haven’t faced before. They are going to face faster pitches and see better hitting.”

Kolb said the main focus of the midweek practice was on picking up speed throwing batting practice and hitting harder ground balls.

In Cranston, the teams are divided into two sections for pool play.

Maryland will be in the Mid-Atlantic pool along with Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. The goal is to get to the championship game on Aug. 4 against the pool play survivor from the New England section.

One of the keys for Federal in the state was getting on top early, something they hope to continue doing.

“We played well with the lead and we played as a team,” said Kolb. “Getting out in front helped relax them, play the game the way they should.”

Normally, Kolb likes to win a coin flip, or hopes the opponent that wins takes the home side so Federal gets the first at-bat. But against South Maryland, Federal was the home team and it was the only time Federal fell behind on the way to a 10-9 loss.

Important, as always coming out of the losers’ bracket, is having a stable of pitching, and Kolb thought that was very important, as will it be in the regionals.

“We think we’ve got six, seven kids so we’ll never run out of pitching,” said Kolb. “I thought we planned well after the loss in states and always had two or three pitchers available and didn’t waste any opportunities.”

Kolb said Ian Selby’s performance in the state championship game was a huge outing, getting through a bases-loaded jam in the third inning without allowing a run.

He also said that Braden Kolb’s relief effort in a 6-4 victory over West Salisbury was critical to staying alive, squelching a two-out, bases-loaded situation.

The Herald-Mail Articles