The fall soccer season got off to a rainy start in Eldersburg with last week's Fourth Annual Freedom Optimist Early Bird Soccer Tournament.
When the week-long affair was over, two local teams had managed to ooze their way to championships.
Mount Airy blanked the Freedom Thunder, 2-0, on Sunday at Oklahoma Park to win the under-14 girls title.
In another all-Carroll championship showdown Sunday, the Freedom Football Club edged Deer Park, 2-1, in overtime on a goal by Michael Golden.
Raymond Tignall scored Freedom's regulation-time goal and Freedom keeper Kevin Schreiner preserved a 1-1 tie blocking a second-half penalty kick.
"These kids are good athletes," said Freedom coach Dennis Hoover."They had a lot of heart."
Mount Airy's girls won their championship in regulation time.
Shannan Henley and Lindsey Vosloh scored goals and keepers Vosloh, Kelly Crown and Becky Spates combined for a shutout.
The Thunder also had prospered by the shutout route, blanking three straight opponents before being zeroed in the finals.
Mount Airy coach Jim Myers, whose team went 4-0 in the tourney, said he was "pleasantly surprised" at the results, particularly since vacations and other obligations forced him to shuffle his lineup from game to game.
But he wants his players' feet planted firmly on the ground as their Carroll County Girls' Soccer League season approaches.
"Hopefully, the girls won't get too excited. I see a lot of room for improvement," Myers said.
Thunder and lightning weren't enough to propel Carroll teams to championship heights in the under-12 girls division. The Freedom Lady Strikers finished third, and the Freedom Lightning, fourth.
The Freedom Strikers were third in the under-14 boys' division.
Many Carroll ballplayers remember Frederick's McCurdy Field as the place where their hopes were --ed in last month's Babe Ruth state tourney.
But another group of local teen-agers view it differently.
The Carroll County Rangers, a traveling baseball squad that draws players from all over the county, triumphed on that field Sunday when they bombed Prince George's County 15-0 to win the Frederick Babe Ruth-sponsored Ambrose Tournament.
Sunday's win was the Rangers' 15-year-olds' fifth straight after losing their tourney opener to Annapolis two weeks ago.
"We just came out hitting the ball and never stopped," said Rangers manager George Hancock.
The pitching wasn't bad either, as Ranger Andy Baer tossed a complete-game shutout in the final.
The locals had also blanked two other opponents in their climb to the title.
In one, lefthander Mike Wisniewski pitched a 10-0 no-hitter over Annapolis.
The Rangers averaged nine runs per game in their five wins, allowing a total of only four.
Hancock credited the strong opposition in the Baltimore Metro League, where his team went 21-16, finishing sixth in the 13-team loop, for toughening his players up.
"We played good competition there. I guess we were just used to it," Hancock said.