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Martin Oil opens NABF against Springdale

By virtue of qualifying for the George B. Kelley Federation League championship finals, both Martin Oil from the Bellwood-Antis area and Barkman Oil from Martinsburg also clinched berths in the Altoona NABF Regional Tournament that began today.
Martin Oil as the league champion, will begin play in the “A” Bracket, at 1:00 p.m. this afternoon against the Springdale Independent Players, a team from the Pittsburgh area, then play the Maryland Titans, from Westminster, Maryland, out of the Metro League at 7:30 p.m.
Just prior to the Maryland Titans game, Martin Oil will receive the George B. Kelley Federation championship trophy, and members of the Altoona NABF team that won the 1957 National Championship will be honored. That tournament was played at the storied Cricket Field in Altoona and included such well-known area athletes as Tom and Jim Lane, Carl DeCaspers, Bob Irwin, Galen Hall. Larry Stoltenberg, Francis Damico, and coach Milt Neuman among many others. Altoona defeated Detroit 1-0 in 10 innings in the final to claim their only NABF championship, although the 1958 Altoona team nearly duplicated the feat before falling to Detroit with former major leaguers Bill Freehan and Dave DeBusschere in the line-up for the Detrout club.
The National Amateur Baseball Federation (NABF) Regional Tournament is using a round-robin format, in which the eight team field is divided into two brackets, with the teams playing all the other three teams in their bracket. The winners and runner-ups of each bracket will then continue in a single elimination round, with the winners meeting on Saturday at 12 Noon for the championship and the right to travel to Jackson, Mississippi for the NABF Senior Division World Series, beginning Wednesday, Aug. 1.
“I think, it’s going to be a good learning experience for them,” said Martin Oil manager Ed Davis. “To use wooden bats and play against the quality these teams bring, it’s nothing but a positive for them down the road.”
Martin Oil will play all its games at Vets Field, weather permitting, completing their round robin with a game against the Tri-County Bees from upstate New York, at 10 a.m. on Friday morning.
The NABF Tournament will have no courtesy runners, use a designated hitter for the pitcher only and use all wooden or wooden composite bats.
Martin Oil selected two pickups for the tournament, Jamie Levinson from the Tyrone Legion team and Andy Lytle from the Juniata VFW team, choosing to go mainly with his own players who have been on the roster all season and who as a team, are very young. Of the 11 players most used by Martin Oil during the 2007 season, eight were playing their first year in the Kelley Federation. Only Earnie Kelley, Brian Hostler and Chad Coho were federation veterans, and only Kelley, who was picked up for last year’s tournament by ReMax Realty, has any NABF experience.
“Andy pitched a great game against us, keeps the ball down and has a live arm,” said Davis in describing his two pickups, “and Jamie can play multiple positions and fill voids.”
Barkman Oil, the Kelley Federation runner-up begins their tournament against Seneca Valley, also from the Pittsburgh area , with a team mostly composed of players who won the PIAA Quad-A state championship at 10 a.m. today.
Barkman Oil, in the “B” Bracket, will play the Virginia Hurricanes from Lynchburg, VA, at 4 p.m. today and complete their round robin with a 10 a.m. game on Friday against the Bonnie Jays, from Brooklyn, New York.