By Jeff Stuart
On July 15, the 9U UMAC Attack All-Star team won the Cal Ripken Maryland State Championship played at Urbana District Park in Frederick. They defeated Calvert in the championship game, 7-6, in extra innings and advanced to the regional championship to be played in Basking Ridge, New Jersey from August 1 to 5. They will face the top teams from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Deleware. “In pool play, UMAC defeated the Prince George’s All Stars, 12-2, Calvert, 10-4, and Walkersville, 13-6, earning a bye to the quarterfinals,” said Assistant Coach Drew Woolery. “On July 14, UMAC defeated Urbana, the host, in the rain by a score of 8-2. It was a close game until the last couple innings. Tommy Roldan pitched three innings, giving up two runs, and my own son, Ryan Woolery, pitched the last three frames with no damage.”
Calvert, having lost earlier in pool play, was looking for redemption in the championship game. Both starting pitchers, Luke Boyd for UMAC and Calvert’s, played the full six innings. “We were down, 3-0, early,” said Woolery, “but scraped together a couple runs in the second, then tied it in the third with a sac groundball from Trent Adelman bringing home the tie run.” The team fell behind again, but Roldan tripled home two runs in the bottom of the fifth, tying the game again. “We shut them down in the top of the sixth, and in the bottom of the inning managed to get Luke Pearre over to third with one out. Pinch hitter Mao LaMotteo hit a groundball to third, but was thrown out at first. Luke tried to score on the play,” explained Woolery, “but he was gunned down at the plate on a great throw from first.” The teams, tied, went into extra innings.
Tommy Roldan relieved Luke Boyd as pitcher and, with the help of catcher Ian Stewart and some close plays, prevented Calvert from scoring. “In the bottom of the seventh, our second baseman and lead-off hitter, Noah Ashker, was grazed by an inside pitch and took first,” Woolery described the final inning. “He stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. The number-two hitter, Ryan Woolery, struck out, but not before working the count long enough for Noah to steal second and take third on a wild pitch. With one out, Roldan hit a walk off double to end the game.”
All players born after April 30, 2004 and who played on a UMAC rec team were invited to attend tryouts for the All Stars in early May. Many who made the team had played together on previous select or all-star teams. The Select team placed first in the Harry O. Smith Memorial tournament in Walkersville, and they took first at the Bulldog Bash in Mt. Airy. UMAC hosted a School’s Out Tournament but lost the championship game to a very good team from Arlington.
Despite trials and tribulations, the coaches kept preaching a mantra that could serve the players in life as well as in baseball: “Don’t start coasting when you get ahead, and never give up when you fall behind.” Hard work and determination kept the boys striving for first, even when they could have easily placed second. “That lesson is the reason I introduced my kid into baseball,” added Woolery, “and one I hope sticks with him long after he moves on to bigger things.