County Comment: Commissioners Support Little League Champs

County Comment
Commissioners Support Little League Champs
by Norman Bassett, Public Information Officer
Washington County, Maryland

State Little League Champions Hagerstown Federal Little League 11-12 All-Stars can breathe a little easier thanks to the County Commissioners' support.
In the July 29th Washington County Board of County Commissioners meeting the Board voted to provide $10,000 in financial assistance to help the team through the next step in its quest for the National Championship, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships, in Bristol, Connecticut. Those funds would come from the Hotel-Motel Tax.
Commissioner Jim Kercheval said that a phone call from Bill Abeles, manager of the team and member of the Federal Board requested support from the Hotel-Motel Tax fund to help recover expenses for the tournament and future costs as they move on to the Mid-Atlantic Regional playoffs representing Hagerstown, Washington County and the State of Maryland.
The Federal All-Stars won the state title in Easton, MD last Friday.
The regional tournament in Bristol will begin on Thursday, Kercheval said. There are 6 State champions that will play 4 games against each other Friday through Wednesday. The top 4 teams, based on record will then play in the semifinal bracket next week. The two semifinal winners will play for the championship August 11th and the winner will move on to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.
Federal feels they have a good chance in this tournament and looked very strong in the State finals, staying undefeated and winning 30-0, 6-4, and 9-1 against their opponents, he said.
The team will have to spend at least a week in Bristol for the Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament and longer if they keep winning. Players' families have spent well over $1000 each for hotels and meals, while in Easton for the State tournament.
Federal has supplemented some of the costs with its limited funds. Money is raised over the season through concession stand revenue and other fundraisers but because of their success this year, those funds are completely expended and there was no time to schedule new fundraisers as the team travels to the tournament. The All-Stars have already incurred $12,000 in expenses from the State finals and will incur similar or larger expenses with the Regional Finals.
The $10,000 from the Hotel-Motel Tax would cover less than half the expected costs. Hotel-Motel Taxes come from tourists staying in lodging in the County.
The regional playoff game with New Jersey will be televised on the Madison Square Garden (MSG) network and the Regional semi-finals and finals will be televised on ESPN. That sports network has already contacted the league and asked them to provide video footage of the players and of their hometown to put together pieces on each team. Commissioner Terry Baker stated that this is the first time in 18 years that a local team has won the State title, and made the motion to approve the funding. Baker also requested County Recreation Department help in having T-shirts made and distributed to the team, and Commissioners' President John Barr said that the County will provide County pins and other memorabilia to the players and Coaches.