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The Taneytown Orioles won this year’s under-12 championship in the Frederick County Cal Ripken Baseball League. They won all 14 regular season games and then swept three more to take the playoffs.
The Taneytown Orioles won this year’s under-12 championship in the Frederick County Cal Ripken Baseball League. They won all 14 regular season games and then swept three more to take the playoffs. (HANDOUT)

You can't ask for a any better season record than 17-0 — that is unless it's 18-0.

However, 17-0 was good enough for the Taneytown Orioles to sweep to this year's under-12 championship in the Frederick County Cal Ripken Baseball League. They won all 14 regular season games and then swept three more to take the playoffs.

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Coach Carl Freundel felt pretty good about the team's prospects from the start even though he had only three players back from his team of the previous year. The kids seemed talented enough, and all of them had at least some baseball experience.

However, he was particularly impressed with these kids' attitude.

"They were very excited, enthusiastic and passionate," Freundel said. "They were (now) at an age where you could teach the good stuff like strategy, not just fundamentals. And these kids soaked that up and ran with it."

There wasn't so much one "key game" that led he and assistant coaches Jim Feister and Rich Ridinger to realize that they had a special team.

It was a succession of one-sided wins.

"We won the opening game 16-0 and the second 16-2," Freundel said. "Then we won the third one 17-0, and I said, 'How can this be happening?' Our teams all draw (players) from the same pool."

Taneytown then beat unbeaten Glade Valley Athletic Association-Black 10-4. The next game was a tough 6-4 victory over Winfield Green, but after then the wins were all convincing ones.

Taneytown finished first with a 14-0 record, 3.5 games over second place Monacacy Valley Association-Black.

Freundel said that he didn't warn his players too much about being overconfident as the playoffs approached. He felt that if they played the way they had all season, overconfidence wouldn't be a problem.

"I said that the only way we could lose was if we gave the game away. I told them they had to go hard from the first inning," he said.

The opening game was on June 3.

The first-seeded Orioles fell behind 2-0 after half an inning to Winfield Gold, but then they roared back with four runs in the home first. Taneytown broke things open with a 9-run third inning and went on to win the game 16-4.

Wesley Miller, who came on strong as a hitter late in the season, went 2-for-3 in the win. Thomas McClintic was 1-for-3, scored a run and had two RBI. Catcher Colton Feister called a good game behind the plate. Both he and James Thompson were 2-for-3 and each scored three runs.

Isaiah Freundel was 2-for-4 and scored two runs.

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In Game 2, Taneytown again fell behind 2-0 after half an inning, this time to Glade Valley Athletic Association Blue. But it erupted for five runs in the home first, held Glade Valley scoreless thereafter and won 9-2.

Trevor Feister was 2-for-2 with a double and scored three runs. The youngster, who was the team's closer this year, pitched the final two innings and held GVAA scoreless. As he had all year, Feister played a steady third base when he wasn't on the mound.

Right fielder-second baseman Michael Hohenstein, Jr. was 1-for-2. Freundel was 2-for-3 and Colton Feister and McClintic were each 2-for-3.

Miller had a hit and two big defensive plays at second that helped choke off GVAA rallies.

The championship game matched Taneytown against GVAA Black. The game was close for awhile. After a three-run top of the sixth inning, GVAA had narrowed an Orioles' lead to 7-5. But the Birds rallied for seven in the bottom of the sixth to put it out of reach.

The final score was 14-6, Taneytown.

Jeshua Jerusalem had a hit and scored two runs for the winners. Jerusalem, who started, pitched three scoreless innings and fanned six batters. Wyatt LeBrun went 2-for-2 and scored three runs. He also played well defensively in center field.

James Thompson went 2-for-2, driving in a big run. The first baseman also made a couple of outstanding defensive plays.

Jeramy Hawk was 2-for-2 with a triple.

His surname seems appropriate; Freundel called him "a Gold Glove center fielder."

"He was the anchor of our team out there," the coach said.

Isaiah Freundel had two key hits and scored three runs. As he had all season, he played an excellent game at shortstop, Colton Feister went 3-for-4, keeping several big innings alive with key hits.

Hohenstein was 1-for-2 and made an excellent catch in right field.

Carl Freundel again talked about the intangible qualities that helped carry his boys to the championship.

"There was a lot of pressure on us because we hadn't lost," he said. "Everybody wanted to beat them. But they rose to the occasion time after time."

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