The chilly mornings and the first yellowing of the leaves signal the coming of fall sports. However, we still are plugged heavily into softball.
Believe it or not, one summer league still is trying to close its books.
The Killer Bees and Random House, divisional winners in the Carroll County Women's League seemingly eons ago, square off tonight in the first game of a best-of-three championship series at Springfield State Hospital in Eldersburg.
Having postponed this meeting at least five times because rain and difficulties in getting the players out, league president Jim Hoffman said this is it.
"Whoever doesn't show up forfeits," he said, adding that if neither shows, the teams will be declared co-champions.
Random House, however, already has taken one local league title this year.
After encountering similar problems in finishing its season, the four-team North Carroll Women's Softball League decided to end things in incomplete style right after Labor Day. Random House, 13-5 at the time, was declared champ.
The Carroll County Men's Fast Pitch League ended Sept. 9 with a four-game marathon between the Wildcats and Howie Price at the Central Laundry Facility near Sykesville.
In the first contest, the Catonsville (Baltimore County)-based Price squadtopped the Wildcats, 11-3, to pin down the league's second half championship.
Then, it played the Sykesville-based Wildcats, who had won the first half crown, in a best-of-three championship series.
Price prevailed in the opener, 8-0, but saw the Wildcats rally from a 5-0 deficit to win the second game, 7-5.
But the Baltimore countians eked out the finale, 7-6, after almost blowing another big lead, this one of six runs.
Phil Pobletts, a Sykesville resident and one of two Carroll players on Howie Price, has now been on the league champion team the past four years, playing with three different teams in the process.
"I do most of the pitching," he said, at least partially explaining the streak.
Fall ball seems more popular than ever,despite the folding of the Woodbine fall league because it had only four teams.
It only had six last year.
Meanwhile, the South Carroll Athletic Association has the same number of teams returning and the Carroll County men's fall league has jumped from 11 teams last year to 16 this season.
It had only six three years ago.
"It's turned into a real big thing," said league commissioner Larry Stambaugh, who said the chance to play at the Carroll Sports Complex might be drawing clubs.
Speaking of that ball yard on Maryland Route 97, it looks as if it will attract a lot of clubs next year.
The Amateur Softball Association, National Softball Association and United States Slow Pitch Softball Association all want to schedule tournaments there. The ASA and NSA have submitted requests to the county recreation and parks department for 10 dates and USSSA state president Jim Ports said he will probably request five more.
Frank Novotny, deputy ASA state commissioner for Carroll County, said his group already has selected the tournaments to go at the Complex if the dates are available.
These are a men's Class C and D regional qualifier May 11-12, youth fast-and slow-pitch state championships June 22-23, men's Church League states July19-21, men's C states July 27-28, and Women's D regional Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
And NSA, despite the collapse of its scheduled men's Class C regional this past Labor Day weekend due to a lack of teams, is far from gun-shy about scheduling tournaments here in 1991.
NSA state president Tom O'Hara said he wants to hold perhaps five tournaments at the complex, the biggest being a 40-plus team Class C men's state championship fray next July or August.
In addition to these three organizations, the county rec and parks department must also fit in the Charles Carroll youth baseball and softball programs and the county men's summer softball league games.
And finally, said rec and parks scheduling coordinator Lisa Sasala, an outfit called Budweiser Triple Crown, which is based in Colorado, has inquired about the complex and may be interested in using it for a softball tourney to promote the beer.
Not surprisingly, "There are already some conflicts in dates," said Sasala, who wants to sit everybody down together soon and work out the differences.
She said the rec department hopes to lock in the 1991 schedule at the complex by the end of this year.
That is good, because every league would know early on where it stands and we can avoid the misunderstandings that occurred this past year over use of those fields.
Copyright The Baltimore Sun 1990