Brad Kreimer knew he had a pretty good team when he put the Rally Killers together last off season.
He’d played with the New Windsor/Union Bridge half over the past six years on various teams at the Carroll County Sports Complex. And Kreimer works with the Montgomery County half as a Rockville firefighter. He’d seen them play, too.
He entered his hybrid squad in the Carroll County Men’s Softball League’s Wednesday Night Division.
“I knew we’d be competitive there, but I never thought we’d be this good,” he said.
Well, they were that good. In fact, they won the league.
The “Rally Killers” moniker wasn’t selected for any particular reason. Kreimer simply said that the players chose the players chose it because “we wanted a witty, funny name.”
However, they weren’t too funny to their opponents this season.
The Rally Killers probably killed a lot of rallies over the course of the regular season and in their five-game sweep in the postseason tournament which was played at the Sports Complex July 10 and July 17.
Of course they’d never played together as the season dawned. But their playing manager felt that talent trumped the lack of familiarity.
“I had at least five guys on my team who were outstanding softball players. Even if they didn’t know the other players, I knew they’d play well,” he said.
His team’s primary strength was its hitting.
“We hit for average and power, and we were good at stringing together hits. Every game we won, we had a big inning,” Kreimer said. “Typically the players all had their positions. But if two of them wanted to switch with each other that was fine. We weren’t super serious.”
The regular season consisted of nine doubleheaders, and the team went 13-4-1 in the standings to finish fifth.
The most painful defeats came in a doubleheader loss to Carroll Stripping about a third of the way into the season. Both were one-runners. And in the second game, the winners rallied in the final inning.
The other losses were scattered. One was against Live Action, a team from the more competitive Tuesday night league who was playing Wednesday night teams to fill out its schedule.
But at least his team split that doubleheader. Not so against Carroll Stripping.
The Rally Killers were especially anxious to get revenge on that opponent. But that would be difficult because Carroll Stripping was no pushover. It had finished first in the Wednesday night league with a 19-1 record.
Rally Killers had finished the season on a high note though, winning its last six games. It opened the tournament on July 10 with an eight-run first inning and went on to hammer High Mileage 20-7.
Brian Owings was 1-for-1 and scored three runs. Kenny Burriss was 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored. Jimmy Fernandez was 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs.
Kevin Kreimer, Brad’s father, pitched and went 2-for 2, scoring three runs.
Bosley Construction fell 12-1 in game two as the Rally Killers unleashed an eight-run third inning to bury it.
Chris Miles was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. A.J. Bowman was 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs, and Fernandez was 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs.
Game 3 was a big one because Carroll Stripping was the opponent. Like the two regular-season games, this one was a barn-burner. But unlike those earlier games, Brad Kreimer’s team came out on top, this by 22-17.
It led 22-7 after a nine-run, top of the seventh. But Striping scored 10 in the home half and had the bases loaded with two out. The final out came in a ball over the fence that was ruled an out because it came after the league’s three-homer limit had been reached.
Ryan Childs was 5-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs while Kenny Hyman was 3-for-3 with a homer and five RBIs. Brad Kreimer was 2-for-2 and scored three runs while Burriss went 3-for-4.
Rally Killers beat the New Softball Group 14-2 in the winners’ bracket final on July 17.
Nick DeVries was 3-for-3 with three runs; Sam Wilt was 2-for-2 with two RBIs. Hyman was 3-for-3 with four RBIs.
Many on the team had expected, and hoped, that Carroll Stripping would be the championship game opponent. But that wasn’t to be.
Instead, it was Birdie’s Cafe which had ousted Carroll Stripping in the losers’ bracket final. Kreimer’s team made short work of Birdie’s and won 25-4 in a four-inning game.
Jake Manis was 3-for-3 with a homer and four RBIs; Hyman was 4-for-4, also with a homer, and four driven in. DeVries, Bowman and Wilt each had three hits and three RBIs.
The players named Hyman, who was 14-for-17 with three home runs and 18 RBIs in the five tournament games, as its MVP.
“We were really happy to win. Some of our guys hadn’t won anything before, and they were proud of themselves. We were a little surprised though,” Kreimer said.
However, his team might have won two championships in the view of its players.
“Our championship was beating Carroll Stripping. That was our championship,” Kreimer said.