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Rec Spotlight: Balls Out goes all out for softball title

Balls Out has done a pretty good job on opponents over its three years of play in the Carroll County Men's Softball League. In postseason tournaments, it finished third in 2014 and second in 2015.

This season in the Men's League's Wednesday Night Division summer session, it was first.

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Most of the team's players come from Carroll County, hailing from Westminster eastward to Hampstead. A scattering come from Pennsylvania, Baltimore City, and the county. Team manager Danny Marshall, 48, says he's known many of the local players, "since they were in diapers."

Marshall recruited some new players before this season. A major addition was pitcher Kenny Hyman, who would ultimately be named MVP in the league's postseason tournament. Other new players were infielders Tyler Brown and Robbie Wheeler.

The mixture of old and new proved nearly perfect. The team split its first two doubleheaders of the season. But then it proceeded to sweep its final nine — that's 18 games.

It finished first in the Men's League's Wednesday Night Division with a 20-2 record.

The Wednesday night Men's League is the less competitive loop, and after awhile, Balls Out was looking like something from the higher league.

"After half the season was over, other teams were coming up and asking me, 'why are you still here,'" Marshall said.

His was a team with few weaknesses. The outfielders were fast and good, defensively. Their speed was also translated to the bases, and Marshall used those outfielders in the batting order's lead-off spots.

The middle of the lineup had a lot of power to drive in the speedy lead-off men; Balls Out scored a lot of runs this year.

The infielders could play multiple positions. This meant that the manager had players he could shift around with no loss on defense.

It's not hard to believe why he was supremely confident in its tournament chances as his team came out of the regular season.

"I have a bunch of good guys. I had a lot of confidence in my team, and knew they'd do well in the tournament," Marshall said.

In Game 1, Balls Out topped Marty's 18-6 in a time-shortened game. Josh "Yac" Yacovissi hit home runs his first three times at bat for the winners. His team mates Zach and Jim Green were each 2-for-3.

Game 2 was a blowout in which Marshall's team blanked Blizzard Refrigeration 17-0. Yacovissi homered in his first at-bat, giving him four in four at-bats. Robbie Wheeler, Bryan Cugle, and Kenny Hyman were each 2-for-2. Hyman also homered and pitched the shutout.

Balls Out scored its third consecutive rout in Game 3, pounding Live Action 16-1. Craig Harris, Dan Boone, and Harvey Swern were each 2-for-2 with a double, and Boone added a second two-base hit.

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Chris Sontag went 1-for-1 with a double and two RBI for the winners.

However, Live Action would make things interesting in the next game. With Balls Out leading 10-6 after the top of the fifth inning and looking for a sweep, Live Action came alive with five runs in the bottom half to go up 11-10. It added three more in the sixth and won 14-10.

Marshall, Dickie Yingling, and Brandon Shiloh were each 2-for-3 for Balls Out. Tyler Brown was 3-for-4. That gave each team a loss in the tournament and set up a final game.

Live Action looked as if it might take it all after it scored five runs in the top of the first inning of that finale. However Balls Out answered with five in the home half, added five more in the bottom of the second and six in the home third to lead 16-6.

By its the home sixth, Balls Out led by nine runs, 17-8. It needed only one more run to have a ten-run margin that would end the game on the 10-run mercy rule.

Cugle's single plated that big run and gave his team the 18-8 win after five innings. Cugle and Marshall were each 4-for-4 in the finale and Swern, 3-for-3.

Pitcher Hyman was also 4-for-4, and he also had two home runs. Cugle was named the tournament MVP.

Marshall said he knew things would be OK all along even when his players had been forced into a sudden death "if game."

"I was excited. It was very good to win. I told the guys that we lost that first game but it was no big deal. We were going to hammer down on them," Marshall said.

He said Balls Out will come back next year. The big question facing them is whether to stay where they are or play up with the big boys in the Carroll County Men's Softball League's upper division.

Marshall says if half the players vote to move up, they'll voluntarily go. At this point, no decision has been made. But there are a bunch of teams in the Wednesday Night Division that are probably wishing Balls Out would get out.

And try their luck elsewhere.

410-857-7896

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