The Carroll County Men's Softball League used a new format for its postseason tournament this year, and that suited Lehigh-Stambaugh justfine.
The team, a mix of players from the old Dougherty's Seafoodand Lehigh squads, defeated Harrell's, 16-14, in the championship game Wednesday at the Carroll County Sports Complex.
It was the third time the two A Division teams had clashed in thepostseason event.
In years past, the top 16 teams in the 32-team league would advance to a single double-elimination tournament. This year, each of the four divisions had its own round-robin tournament, and the top two from each advanced to the tournament.
Not surprisingly, Lehigh and Harrell had finished one-two in the A Division during the regular season, and that trend continued in both the divisionalplayoff and the overall league tournament.
Lehigh had knocked Harrell's into the losers bracket in the tournament on Aug. 22 in an eight-inning contest, with the Union Bridge and Taneytown-based squad earning a 14-13 win. Harrell's came through the losers' bracket and beat Lehigh-Stambaugh in the first championship game, 8-6, setting up the deciding contest.
Lehigh-Stambaugh ended the two-year reign of Baltimore-based Car Center, which was not in the league this year. KV Sports and Lehigh split all of the league's titles from 1985 to 1988.
Wednesday's win by Lehigh-Stambaugh marked the first league championship by a Larry Stambaugh-coached team since Dougherty's Seafood defeated Westminster Merchants in the 1984 title game at Landon Burns Park.
Wednesday's game also was the first night title game in the league's history. The championships had been scheduled for the previous week, but heavy rains had postponed earlier rounds of the playoff.