Six Carroll youth baseball groups and four from nearby counties havecombined to form a new traveling baseball loop.
The recently created Central Maryland Travel Baseball League, which opens in mid-April, includes teams from the Finksburg, Hampstead, New Windsor, Sykesville and Winfield rec programs, along with Royal Sports, a spinoff fromthe Manchester organization.
They are joined by Columbia of Howard County, Damascus of Montgomery County, Glade Valley of Frederick County and Reisterstown of Baltimore County.
Each organization can place teams in the league's four age-group divisions which run from 9-under to 13-14.
Teams, generally formed through try-outs within their respective organizations,will each play eight Sunday games and a double-elimination postseason tournament.
The schedule ends by July 1 so that it will not conflict with the county's numerous baseball tournaments.
Organizers say the primary reason for starting the league was to give more-talented youngsters the chance to play stronger competition elsewhere.
"We wanted to give the kids opportunity to travel outside of their leagues. A lot of them would never have that opportunity," said league president John Hamper, who coordinated the Sykesville traveling teams last year.
Those Sykesville teams had to travel great distances tocompete in the Baltimore Beltway and Metro leagues, and the desire to cut that travel was another reason for the Central Maryland loop, Hamper said.
He said lack of interest thwarted his effort to start a local travel loop three years ago.
But Central League vice president Jerry Little, active in Winfield's baseball group, said now is the right time.
"People (in Sykesville and Manchester) were gettinginvolved in the Baltimore Beltway League, and we noticed how well those teams played against us in late-season tournaments," said Little.
He added that others in Finksburg and Hampstead also took note, and this probably helped sell them on the idea of a local travel league.
Winfield officials, he said, were quickly convinced when talk of forming the league became serious last summer and fall.
"Everybody wanted to get involved. They were all for it," he said.
Hamper said the 10 clubs are raising money to cover the start-up costs.
In fact, Winfield has already sold out a March dance to help pay for equipping its five teams, said Little.
For the second straightyear, Dundalk stopped the Manchester Wrestling Club's bid for a Maryland Junior Wrestling League team championship.
Sunday, the Baltimore County team overcame an early 13-0 Manchester lead to win the league championship match, 45-33, at Owings Mills High.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Carroll squad topped Randallstown in the semifinals,48-30, after dominating the light- and middleweight divisions and leading, 31-6, at one point.
But both Randallstown and Dundalk predominated in the heavier weights. For Dundalk, it was revenge for Manchester's regular-season victory.
Manchester led Dundalk, 24-20, through the 100-pound class, but was outscored, 25-9, thereafter.
Manchester's Tyler Alexander, Fran Jenkins, James and Randy Holmes, EddyDavis, Doug Dell and Tommy Kiler each won their bouts in both the semifinals and championships.