2008 Maryland State Little League® Tournament Results
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Maryland State Tournament
Major Baseball Division

Toward the past

Toward the present

Maryland State Tournament
Host - Easton (District 6)
At North Easton Park

Participating Teams
District 1 Champions Hagerstown Federal
District 2 Champions Frederick National
District 4 Champions South Maryland (Davidsonville)
District 5 Champions North East
District 6 Champions Easton
District 7 Champions Hughesville
District 8 Champions Fruitland

Click here to view 2008 district tournament results for Maryland.

Tournament Results:

Opening Round:
Fruitland 12, North East 7
Frederick National 10, Hughesville 0 (4 innings)
Hagerstown Federal 30, South Maryland 0 (4 innings)

Winner's Bracket Semifinals:
Easton 7, Fruitland 4
Hagerstown Federal 5, Frederick National 4

Elimination Bracket - Round 1 (seven teams remain):
Hughesville 7, South Maryland 6 (elim.)

Elimination Bracket Quarterfinals (six teams remain):
North East 7, Frederick National 1 (elim.)
Hughesville 13, Fruitland 10 (7 innings; elim.)

Winner's Bracket Finals:
Hagerstown Federal 6, Easton 4

Elimination Bracket Semifinals (four teams remain):
Hughesville 4, North East 3 (elim.)

Elimination Bracket Finals (three teams remain):
Easton 20, Hughesville 2 (4 innings; elim.)

Championship Game:
Hagerstown Federal 9, Easton 1 (TITLE)


It is a time-honored literary device: an author introduces a character that plays a bit part in one storyline, but appears again -- this time at center-stage -- in a later work.

Such was the case with Hagerstown Federal Little League, which won the first district championship in the league's 40-plus year history in 2007 before eventually placing fourth at the Maryland state tournament. Both of Federal's losses came by the hand of West Salisbury Little League, which tossed numerous teams by the wayside during a climb through the bottom bracket before eventually winning the Maryland title. West Salisbury's championship was a precursor to a victory in the Mid-Atlantic Region tournament that earned the Marylanders a trip to the Little League World Series.

Hagerstown Federal's roster was relatively young in 2007, and five players from that breakthrough state tournament team returned to form the core of the league's 2008 all-star team. Manager Bill Abeles felt the experience would give his team a distinct advantage.

"I do not discount the experience factor," said Abeles of his team's returning players. "Especially last year. (In the 9-10 year old division) you don't have the leadership and you don't have the same pressure. The core of five guys that felt the pressure in the state tournament in 2007 are leading them now."

"When other teams throw their best guys, you want kids whose hearts aren't in their throats," explained the Hagerstown manager prior to the state tournament. "We have that experience."

Hagerstown's blend of talent and veteran savvy would prove to be a lethal combination in the 2008 international tournament. The District 1 champions opened the state tournament with a 30-0 pummeling of South Maryland Little League, and closed it by defeating Easton Little League on their own field, 9-1, to claim the state championship. Like West Salisbury in 2007, Hagerstown Federal's story didn't end until the Little League World Series.

"All the coaches tried to do is just stay out of their way and let them play a great game between the foul lines, and they absolutely did it," said Abeles after his team toppled Easton. "(They) did all the things we asked: pitched and played great defense and hit the dickens out of the baseball."

Federal's hitting was especially potent in the championship game. Hagerstown collected a dozen hits, and homered four times against the league that won the state championship in the 9-10 year old division in 2006. Right fielder Crosse Barvichack sparked a three-run rally by drilling a home run to open the second inning, and then added a two-run shot to extend the lead in the third.

The early lead was exactly what Abeles hoped for coming into the game.

"We didn't mind being the visitor, and we knew what we wanted to do was basically put a little bit of pressure on them and make them play defense. We knew we were going to get good pitching, and we knew we were going to put the ball in play because we have such good hitters. But we just wanted to keep the pressure on them."

Josh Moates added a three-run homer in the fourth, and Dalton Jobe completed the scoring with a solo shot to lead off the sixth.

Federal pitcher Zane Schreiber struck out seven batters in 4-1/3 innings, and held Easton to just one run despite allowing runners to reach scoring position in each of the game's first four innings. Reliever Josh Barron retired all five batters he faced to bring the state championship back to Hagerstown for the first time since Hagerstown American Little League captured the Maryland title in 1990.

"Hagerstown is just a very good team," said Easton manager Albert Pritchett. "They had two great pitchers. They hit the ball just tremendously -- no matter who we threw up there, they were mashing the ball. They're very well-coached, very disciplined. I think they'll be a great representative of the state of Maryland."

Hagerstown's title game victory was their second of the tournament over Easton. The second pitcher that Pritchett referred to, left-hander Andrew Yacyk, held Easton's offense scoreless into the sixth inning before Hagerstown held off a late charge in a 6-4 victory. Yacyk struck out 10 and allowed just three hits before reaching the 85-pitch limit mandated by international tournament rules.

"He had great pace and he comes across as a southpaw, which is a different angle," explained Abeles. "He has superb off-speed pitches to keep them off-balance. He's really honed that over the last three years."

Yacyk also sparked Hagerstown's first rally, when his double opened a two-run first inning. Schreiber followed with a walk, and both runners scored when Barvinchack doubled later in the inning.

Federal extended its lead in the second, when Mark Grunberg and Ryan Byard delivered run-scoring hits. Byard eventually scored on a first-and-third baserunning situation, and the next inning, Moats walked and scored on a wild pitch.

"We play each game trying to win each inning," said Abeles. "That was our focus from the get-go, to put some pressure on them early. We were trying to keep pressure on them, but they're too solid a ballclub to allow that to happen and started to come back."

Easton began narrowing the deficit in the sixth, when Tayvon Blake drove a Yacyk pitch beyond the fence to open the inning. Ike Pulley and J.V. Lewis followed with singles, and Shyheim Washington slammed a three-run home run to pull his team within two runs before Hagerstown had recorded an out.

Easton added a walk and single to bring the winning run to the plate with one out, but Josh Barron -- Hagerstown's third reliever of the inning -- induced a strikeout and pop out to end the rally.

"They really made a run at us late in the game," said Abeles. "I'm really glad it wasn't the first inning, that's for sure.

"Our goal was to try to stay in the winner's bracket," added the Hagerstown manager. "It takes some pressure off our pitching staff. This is high-stakes, and we knew we were up against a tough Easton team. My guess is we're going to see them again."

"We came up a little short," said Pritchett. "But we are going to come back tomorrow, hopefully, and win a game and maybe get another chance to see them."

Hagerstown advanced to their late-tournament clashes with Easton by opening the tournament with a pair of victories. Five different players homered -- including Schreiber three times -- in the 30-0 opening round win over South Maryland. Federal scored six runs in the first inning before following with twelve-run rallies in the second and third. Schreiber paced Hagerstown's 19-hit attack with a three-run homer in the first, a solo homer in the second, a two-run single later in the second, and a grand slam in the third. Yacyk and Barron threw a combined one-hitter, and faced the minimum number of batters.

The next day, Federal needed a late rally to edge Frederick National Little League, 5-4. Hagerstown led early, but Frederick took the lead with a pair of runs in the third, and extended the advantage when Blake Lincoln homered in the fourth and drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth. But Frederick managed just one run in that fifth inning after loading the bases with nobody out, and Hagerstown capitalized on the missed opportunity in the bottom of the inning.

Brady Hornbecker opened the inning with an infield hit, Yacyk walked, and Schreiber's two-run double to center field tied the game. Frederick recorded the inning's first two outs, but a throwing error following Moats' chopper to the mound allowed pinch runer Ryan Kinter to score the go-ahead run.

"They were taking it to us, and we needed a little bit of luck," said Abeles. "We got to the fifth inning, got a couple of guys on, kept battling and putting the ball in play. And they made one key error that helped us out.

"We needed to have a close game," added Abeles, whose closest margin of victory to that point in the international tournament was an 11-2 win in their first district tournament game. "I was a little concerned about when we'd experience that game (and) how we'd respond. But we got an answer. This is the state (tournament) and this was a great game."

The win moved Hagerstown into their first matchup with Easton, and the Eastern Shore team earned a second shot at Federal by lacing Hughesville Little League, 20-2, in the elimination bracket final. Carrying over momentum from their final inning rally against Hagerstown, Easton hit six home runs while opening up a 17-0 lead before the game was suspended by rain after two innings. Easton built much of their lead in the second, when twelve consecutive batters reached base after the first two outs were recorded. Blake hit three home runs, while Shaw Pritchett added two and Nick Olds hit one. Dallas Bonner added a three-run shot when play resumed the next day.

"They came ready," said Hughesville manager Gary Ruble of the host team.

"We have been talking to the players about not being tentative," explained Pritchett. "The kids came out swinging the bats well."

Not lost amongst the carnage was Hughesville's decision to return to the Eastern Shore -- a three hour-plus round trip -- to finish the suspended game despite the double-digit deficit.

"We had conversations about it," said Ruble of his team's decision to complete the game. "Ultimately it came down to the boys and what they wanted to do. The majority was they wanted to come back and play. This is about the boys, so we came back and played."

"It was certainly different starting in the third inning already with a lead," said Pritchett. "We have a lot of respect for Hughesville for coming back (to finish the game). They had a good tournament. They won three games."

"I am so proud of this team," said Ruble. "Even with the fate of the game on the wall, (our players) would rather go back over an hour and a half away to finish the game than concede. Can't beat that in a million years."

Pritchett was equally pleased with his team's effort.

"I would have liked to been the winner of the show, but it didn't work out that way," said Pritchett. "And I sure wish Hagerstown the best of luck."

"I'd trade places with Hagerstown," added the Easton manager. "But I wouldn't have traded my team."

Hagerstown, meanwhile, departed the Eastern Shore with its sights on loftier goals.

"We've set mini-goals and have tried to reward ourselves the whole run," said Abeles. "We wanted to repeat as district champions, which we did. We wanted to go a step further here and win the state championship. Now we'll start preparing for Bristol, keep taking little steps, and see where it takes us."

Where it took them -- that's a whole new story to tell. Hagerstown's time at center stage was only just beginning.

Follow Hagerstown Federal at the Mid-Atlantic Region Tournament -- Click here to view results.


  Winner's Bracket Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Easton 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 - -
Hagerstown Federal 2 3 1 0 0 x 6 - -
  Elimination Bracket Final
Hughesville 0 0 0 2 2 - -
Easton 11 6 3 x 20 - -
  Championship Game
Hagerstown Federal 0 3 2 3 0 1 9 12 1
Easton 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 6 1

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Last revision: 06/13/2009