When discussing good local youth baseball teams, the Sykesville All-Stars definitely deserve a mention.
After all, they won the 12-under championship at least weekend's Second Annual Finksburg Summer Bash tournament.
But, it's also important to mention the Stars because it's probably the only time they will ever play. The team was formed specifically to play in this tournament; it was one and done. If the All-Stars are to be mentioned, it must be quick.
Its roster has now been disbanded and the kids have gone back to their respective teams in the Sykesville baseball program's in-house division.
The Finksburg Summer Bash tournament, which was played at Deer Park and Roaring Run, was for rec players only. Area programs, including Sykesville's, were invited to send teams.
Sykesville Majors (5th-6th grade) Commissioner Mitch Dobres coached the Sykesville All-Stars, and was assisted by Jay Morraye and Fred Grabau.
They formed the All-Stars after watching the in-house kids play, talking to coaches and reviewing the evaluations the coaches made out for each player back in the spring when the in-house teams were formed.
Judging from the results, they picked their 13 players for the Stars pretty well.
The team held five Sunday practices to prepare. Its coaches were quickly impressed at their players' talent, how well they blended together and absorbed the coaching.
"I'll tell you what. You'd never believe they were a bunch of rec kids,” Dobres said. “You could teach them things you couldn't teach rec kids.They wanted to play baseball. They were hungry for it. They were extremely cohesive as a team."
Sykesville opened on June 21 with a 16-7 win over Finksburg. While the score seemed lopsided, Sykesville was down 7-5 after four innings. Then they erupted with 11 sixth inning runs to win, going away.
They got only three hits in that frame but also benefited from seven walks, an error and a batter hit by a pitch.
Ryan Crochunis was 2-for-2 and scored three runs for the winners. Scott Grabau was 3-for-3 with a double and triple, scoring two runs.
Game 2 was a 14-11 loss as Taneytown broke an 11-11 tie with three sixth inning runs.
Jake Marion sparked a four-run, fourth-inning rally with a two-out double to get things going for Sykesville. Brayden Koleszar and Jackson Ricks also doubled during the frame with Koleszar driving in two runs and Ricks, one.
Jacob Crosby nearly tied the game in the sixth and final inning. With two runners on and two outs, he hit a fence-clearing blast that went just foul before making the final out.
Nevertheless, the near-miss earned him the Sykesville team MVP as selected by the opposing coach after each game.
Sykesville qualified for the championship round. It won its semifinal game 10-0 over Hampstead. Grabau pitched four scoreless frames and Crochunis hurled the final two.
Sykesville led only 4-0 until the home fifth when it broke things open with six runs. Ryan Zeigler singled home two runs and scored once in the big sixth. Michael Novak and Crosby each singled in a run; Ricks doubled home a run and also scored.
Aidan Scherr scored two runs in the game. Billy Herndon scored a run in each of the first three games.
The championship game on June 23 was a cliffhanger. But Sykesville withstood a last-inning rally to beat Towson 12-11.
Towson broke on top 2-0 in the first, but Sykesville retaliated with five in the home first and kept adding on. It led 12-3 going into the sixth and final inning.
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But Towson scored eight runs and had the tying run thrown out at the plate for the final out.
Richard Peace and Jayden Zumbrun were each 2-for-3 in the game. Gavin Merchant was 1-for-3 with a double, RBI and a run scored for Sykesville.
"The kids were thrilled; this was an absolute blast,” Dobres said.
He said he has coached youth baseball for 28 years, and "this was one of the best groups of kids I've ever had."
He predicted some of the Stars players had the talent to play travel baseball and are a good bet to join the travel ranks next season.
And while Dobres and his assistants put together a very good team and trained the players about as well as it's possible to do in a short period of time, the Sykesville coach wasn't taking the credit for the results.
"We tried to put them in a position to win, but it was all the kids. We just picked up the trash after the game," he said.