Caroline County team headed for Little League World Series

Team is first from Md. in Williamsport since 1986

Youth Baseball

August 17, 2004|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

Whatever plans the residents of Preston and Federalsburg had for this coming weekend have likely gone out the window, as folks from the tiny Caroline County towns pack up and head for Williamsport, Pa., to watch their team play in the Little League World Series.

"It's all been overwhelming, but everybody is really happy," said Tina Nagel, the mother of J.T. Nagel, an outfielder for the South Caroline team that beat Deep Run Valley of Hilltown, Pa., 4-1, Sunday in the Mid-Atlantic regional final in Bristol, Conn.

In the process, the 11-12 year-olds nabbed one of 16 spots in the World Series, staged between teams from around the United States and from Poland, Panama, Taiwan, Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles, Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands and Mexico.

The South Caroline team, culled from players from three Little League teams from Federalsburg, near the Delaware state line, and nearby Preston, is the first Maryland squad to advance to Williamsport since a team from Brunswick in Frederick County qualified in 1986.

South Caroline won its way to the Little League World Series with a dazzling performance from pitcher Robbie Payne, who led off the game with a home run, slugged a two-run homer in the second and pitched a five-hit complete game, striking out six and walking two.

Two South Caroline players, including J.T. Nagel, were beaned in the win, but both are expected to play this weekend, when the team will meet Owensboro, Ky., Saturday at noon in the opening round.

This group of South Caroline players won the Maryland Little League state title two years ago, while an 11-12 team from South Caroline captured the state championship that year, but was eliminated in regional play.

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