The Carroll County age 16 All-Stars baseball squad's drive for a slot in this year's Babe Ruth state championship final fell one game short Thursday night.
Frederick beat the Carroll team, 10-5, at Grove Stadium in Thursday night's game.
The defeat of the age 16 stars, who ended the double-elimination tourney at 2-2, knocked the last Carroll team from the state Babe Ruth tournament.
"We made too few hits and too many errors," said Carroll manager Ralph Arnold.
Mark Winebrunner's RBI single put Carroll ahead, 1-0, in the first inning. But Frederick, with the help of three Carroll errors, scored five in the second to go ahead for good, 6-1.
The host team continued to pile it on, and led 10-1 in the fifth before a belated Carroll comeback.
Carroll's Marc Horgos drove in two runs late in the game, but it wasn't enough.
Despite the lengthening odds against them, the players never gave up, Arnold said.
"In the last inning [when Carroll scored twice] the kids were all on the bench rooting. They still thought they could come back," the Carroll manager said.
He blamed his team's two tournament losses on mistakes and not lack of talent.
"We're in the same league as Frederick and Prince George's [the other team to beat Carroll].
We just didn't win. Usually you beat yourself at this age, and we did some of that in the games we lost," he explained.
Arnold's squad blasted North East, 15-2, Wednesday night at Grove in a game shortened to five innings via the ten-run slaughter rule.
Carroll broke that game open with a seven-run third inning.
Horgos was 4-for-4, and Winebrunner pitched all five innings, striking out six.
Thursday evening was a much happier for another Carroll County team.
The Woodbine Wreck took the Woodbine women's softball league's post-season tournament that evening with a convincing romp over Pet Stop at Salt Box Park.
Those squads had split the first two games in their best-of-three championship series Tuesday evening.
Wreck players Debbie Barnes, Barb Owens, Peggy Gustatus, Kathy Condon and Mary Jenkins each had four hits. Their team rattled hits all around the Woodbine ballpark in a game that was never close after their team scored 10 in the third inning.
"They just came out and hit the ball, played good defense -- they did everything right," said Wreck manager Ken Stockdale.
However, he said he wasn't totally surprised at his club's lofty post-season finish, even though the Wreck's regular season saw it go only 3-5 and place fourth in the five-team Woodbine Women's League.
"We had a lot of new players, and it takes a while to get them in
the right positions," Stockdale explained.
Stockdale said he held three-hour practices every Sunday during the season to sharpen his players' skills.
While the benefits of those practices probably weren't too obvious early in the season when the team lost its first five games, they were very obvious when it won its last three.
"It was worth all the work," Stockdale said.
And, when the post-season playoffs began in mid-July, the Wreck continued its roll despite numerous rainouts that plagued the tourney.
On July 16, Woodbine blasted the California Coolers, 10-1, and then decisioned the regular-season champ Woodbine Aces, 12-7, in nine innings July 21.
But it seemed the Wreck's underdog challenge for the post-season title might end Tuesday evening when Pet Stop won the opener, 10-7, and jumped ahead, 5-0, in the second game.
Stockdale, though, said he and his players remained confident.
"We had left the bases loaded three times in the first [10-7] game. That tells you something. We were hitting. We just couldn't get them when we needed to," he said. "The girls didn't lose their spirit."
Nor did they lose the game, as they rallied to win, 7-6.
Thursday evening, though, they wouldn't have to come from behind.
Robyn Baumgarden gave a hint of things to come when she tripled home two runs in the second inning to make it 3-0.
The Wreck then bunched eight hits in the wild third that put them ahead 13-0 and contemplating their post-game celebration.
But despite the turnaround that saw his team win seven of its last eight games, manager Stockdale refused to take credit.
L "They did it all themselves. I didn't do anything," he said.