Ashley's Lounge, a Ferndale-based 35-and-over men's softball team, captured the Amateur Softball Association state championship this pastweekend at Upton Softball Park in Glen Burnie.
The defending state champions downed Ferguson Trenching, 22-10, in a five-inning game -- shortened by the 10-run slaughter rule -- for their third straight softball title.
By virtue of their first-place finish in the six-team invitational, Ashley's will travel to Meridian, Miss., to participate in the ASANational 35-and-over tourney from Aug. 29-Sept. 4.
In its earliergames, Ashley's downed Southern Maryland Aluminum Products, 15-5, nipped Ferguson's, 13-11, and lost to Ferguson's, 12-8, setting up the final game between the longtime rivals.
"It seems like every time we play in a big tournament, Ferguson's always stands in our way. They always seem to give us the most trouble," said manager/designated hitter Jim Griffith.
Shortstop Buddy Young led the team in hitting with an .800 average and 10 runs scored, while pitcher Mike Rohleder batted .769 with nine runs scored.
Outfielder Paul Niggemyer (10 RBI in the championship game) led the team in home runs (three) and RBI (16) in the tourney while batting .615.
During the summer season, Ashley's compiled an overall mark of 61-10, upping its record to 174-23 over the past three years.
Leading performers during the regular season included Bucky Whicklein, who batted a team-leading .649, Rohleder (.608), Young (.604), Ross Roberts (.563, 21 homers and 121 RBI), Niggemyer (.549, 20 homers and 110 RBI), and Mickey Burns (.534, 10 homers and 96 RBI).
Other team members include Billy Porter, Jimmy Glover, Larry Budd, Dale Bowers, George Chmeil, Dave McVeigh, Fred Clark, Chuck Johnson and Joe DeHaven, and coaches John McGinty, John Stork and Sarge Largent.
Ashley's also will defend its United States Slow-Pitch Softball Association state title on Sept. 7-8 in Ocean City.