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Martin Oil opens NABF regional

Getting involved
Martin Oil players have a Corporal Miller baserunner trapped in a rundown during a regular season Kelley Federation game. Along with their teammates, Nate Gray (7), Trey Mock (5), Chad Coho (center, back) and Judd Manning (far right), begin the 2008 NABF Altoona Regional this morning at Mansion Park against Team Ontario, from Ontario, Canada. (The Daily Herald/File Photo)

The two local entries from the George B. Kelley Federation will open the Altoona National Amateur Baseball federation Regional to day.
Martin Oil will play Team Ontario, from Ontario, Canada at 12 p.m. Noon at Mansion Park, at the same time, ReMax Realty is taking on The Maryland Orioles, from Baltimore.
The tournament, originally scheduled for eight teams, is down to five. The difference in number will necessitate a change in format, from a double elimination to a round-robin, with each of the five remaining teams playing the other four. The two teams with the best records, will then play for the Regional championship and a berth in the National tournament at Jackson, Mississippi next week.
The local teams are always at a disadvantage to the visiting teams for several reasons. One of the most important is that only wooden bats will be used.
“The guys from Ontario were in other tournaments already in Oklahoma, Cincinnati and two or three other places in wood bat tournaments already this year,” said Martin Oil manager Ed Davis. “And their league is a wooden bat league.”
Another difficulty is the fact that Martin Oil and ReMax just finished a hard playoff, in which the two teams played eight ballgames in nine days, leading to tired arms on the pitching staffs.
ReMax is in better shape in that aspect, because as Kelley champion, they got first choice in picking up players from the rest of the league for the Regional. ReMax plundered the best pitching arms not on the two tournament teams, picking up pitchers Andy Smithmyer, the Kelley Federation Pitcher of the Year, and Andy Lytle from Juniata VFW, Tyler Nash from Barkman Oil, and Josh Smith from Corporal Miller, as well as Juniata VFW infielder Josh Weyandt and catcher K. J. Walters.
Martin Oil picked up just one player, Tyler Simpson, from Barkman Oil. Simpson’s parents have recently moved into the Bellwood-Antis School District and Tyler will attend Bellwood-Antis in the fall. Last year, Martin Oil picked up Lytle and Tyrone Legion’s Jamie Levinson.
“I think we are going to have a nice tournament, a very good tournament,” said tournament manager Tom Stout. “The teams are going to get to play four games, apiece, so that should make it a good tournament.”
Teams in the tournament include, in addition to the two local entiries, the Maryland Orioles from the Baltimore-Metro League, Team Ontario from Ontario, Canada, from the Ontario Baseball league, and the New York Outsiders from West Chester, New York from the Upper New York Area League.
Teams which did not come to the Regional, were two teams from the Pittsburgh area- one from Quad Counties North and the other from Quad Counties South. A team from Brooklyn, New York, canceled out on Tuesday, and a team from Long Island, New York, was assigned to another Regional.
“We have the option of running a bracket, or doing a round-robin, and we felt that the round-robin system would give us more ballgames, and give the kids, especially the young players, more opportunities,” explained Stout, who is also the president of the George B. Kelley League.
Martin Oil, the 2007 Kelley champ, added just two players last year for the 2007 NABF Regional, and added Simpson this year, because “Tyler gives us another left-handed power hitter,” said Davis. “Any time you can add someone like that, you jump at the opportunity.”
Following the two local teams Regional-opening contests this morning, the two will play each other at 7 p.m. this evening at Vets Field, with Kelley Federation awards being presented prior to the game.
Martin Oil will also play Friday morning against the Maryland Orioles at Vets Field at 10 a.m., and on Saturday against the New York Outsiders at Vets at 2 p.m.
The play for the Regional is a little different from Kelley games. There are wooden bats, as mentioned above. There is a designated hitter for the pitcher only, if used. There are no re-entry rules. Once a player is taken out of the game, he cannot return, and there is a must-slide rule for any play that is close, on any base.
“You still have to go out and throw strikes. play some defense, and hit the ball,” said Davis. “There’s no special strategy. We just hope to come out and be competitive.”