It has been a gloomy first week for Carroll County teams navigating the dangerous waters of state Babe Ruth championship play.
The Westminster age 14 and 15 all-stars were eliminated by midweek, and the Westminster 13 and Carroll 16-18 teams were buried in their respective tourney losers' brackets, hoping somehow to survive long enough to get out.
The Carroll 16 team's scheduled opening game at Frederick's Grove Stadium Thursday was moved to Friday, then postponed again to yesterday, both due to rain.
And Frederick gave the 16-18 stars a rude welcome to Grove on Wednesday night with a 12-5 pounding.
Carroll 16-18 manager Tim Heffner said a combination of timely hitting and his own pitchers' wildness led to the explosion that saw Frederick quickly widen the 5-4 lead it held in the third inning.
"We rely on pitching and defense, and if either lets us down, there's a problem," Heffner said.
But he refused to dwell on it as he looked toward yesterday's second game.
"We'd just as soon forget it and go on," he said.
Westminster's age 13 stars, who had won their Sunday opener by a convincing 8-3, were even more convincingly thrashed Wednesday.
Taking advantage of wildness and the locals' troubles under the lights, Calvert County romped 12-1 at Frederick's McCurdy Field.
"Our kids weren't used to the lights, four or five catchable pop flies were dropped," said Westminster manager Matt Tozer, whose next game was to be played Friday, then was postponed to yesterday because of rain.
But his 13 team, at least, was to get another chance.
Westminster's age 14 all-stars will not.
They were finished for the year after Wednesday evening's 9-2 trouncing by Anne Arundel County eliminated them from the tourney.
Westminster manager George Webster said a key play came in the third, with his team down 2-1.
With two outs and Nick Stonesifer on third base, he had Ryan Surber bunt, hoping to catch Arundel by surprise.
But instead of going for Stonesifer speeding toward the plate, Arundel threw to first for the easy out, ending the inning and Westminster's last chance to win.
Arundel promptly scored five times in the home third to blow the game open.
"We tried to make something happen, but it didn't pan out," Webster said.
MARVA (Maryland and Virginia combined team) eliminated the Westminster 15 team 9-7 at McCurdy Field on Tuesday night in a game that left Westminster manager Ray Shipley wondering what might have been. Westminster was behind 9-2 when it scored five runs in the home sixth to narrow the gap to 9-7 with one at-bat remaining.
But after an appeal by MARVA, Westminster pitcher Jerry
Brooks was ruled ineligible after facing two batters in the seventh because he had violated a tournament rule by pitching more than seven innings in two consecutive games.
The game was stopped at that point, and Frederick County-based MARVA was awarded the 9-7 verdict.
Shipley termed it an oversight that occurred during the heat action.
"It was a hard loss but [using Brooks in too many innings] was just a technical error. It was one of those moments," Shipley said.
The Westminster manager blamed his team's early game doldrums on a letdown from Sunday's heartbreaking 6-5 extra-inning loss to Anne Arundel County.
"They just couldn't get themselves back up," he said.