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Md. Orioles U-17s Fall Short in Title Game

By Keith Mills

Sean Doyle, Russ Patti, Chris Peltz and Dominic Fratantuono, all members of this fall's Oriolelanders select team, helped the Maryland Orioles Under-17 amateur baseball reach the finals of the National Amateur Baseball Federation High School Division World Series last week in Virginia.

Former Arizona second baseman Tony Womack, a native of Danville, Va. and a hero of the Diamondbacks' 2001 World Series win over the Yankees, threw out the first ball at the tournament, which featured 50 teams and more than 150 games.

The Orioles, coached by Fratantuono's father Gary, a former catcher for retired coach Mel Montgomery at Old Mill High in Millersville, won their first seven games of the four-day tournament before losing to the Virginia Barnstormers, 3-0, in the championship game on Calvin Falwell Field at City Stadium in Lynchburg.

Prior to the championship game, the Orioles, who played this summer in the Baltimore Under-19 Metro League, had ripped through the tournament, which also included three other area teams: Putty Hill, the Carroll County Rangers and the Mount Airy Junior American Legion Team.

The Orioles opened the tournament on Friday, Aug. 7 with a pair of wins over the Lenoir City Panthers of Tennessee and the Troy Bombers of Akron, Ohio by a combined score of 36-1.

The offensive onslaught was led by Glenn Davis of Northeast High in Pasadena, who will play his college baseball next year at Catonsville Community; Mike Schmidt, an All-Anne Arundel County second baseman at North County High in Ferndale; Patti, a rising senior catcher at Centennial High in Howard County; and Peltz, a rising senior pitcher and infielder at Cardinal Gibbons.

Davis hit a home run with three RBIs and three runs scored while Schmidt, who is headed to Towson University this fall, went 4-5 with two doubles, two RBIs and four runs scored as the Orioles pounded Lenoir, 21-0, to open the tournament.

Steve Schillinberg, a rising senior at Gibbons, pitched a two-hit, complete game shutout for the win as the Orioles pounded 19 hits -- seven for extra bases.

Archbishop Curley's Brandon Franke and Collin Fishman of Our Lady of Good Counsel High in Montgomery County combined to pitch a no-hitter in the second game, a 15-1 win over the Troy Bombers.

Franke, who is headed this fall either to Towson University or Essex Community College, pitched the first four innings, striking out nine while Fishman struck out five in his three innings of relief. The only Troy run scored on an error in the fourth inning.

Peltz and Patti paced an 11-hit attack as the Orioles built a 9-0 lead in the fourth inning and never looked back. Patti was 3-3 in the second game and 5-6 in the double header with four RBIs and six runs scored while Peltz was 4-5 with a double, five RBIs and two runs scored.

Patti, who caught all eight games of the tournament, continued his hot hitting in another doubleheader Aug. 8 as the Orioles beat Palamino 757 of Virginia Beach, 10-0, and the Elks of North Carolina, 7-0, as Doyle, Fishman and Kodi Beckwith combined for a pair of shutouts.

Doyle, a rising senior, tossed an overpowering one-hit shutout in the first game as he pitched to the minimum 21 batters in the seven-inning game.

The strong right-hander, who has started at Curley since his sophomore year, struck out eight and allowed just one hit and one walk. Both runners were eventually erased on a double play and caught stealing as Patti fired a strike to Schmidt at second base to retire Palamino centerfielder Chris Hill, who opened the third inning with a single.

Fishman and Beckwith, a rising senior at Perry Hall and also the team's rightfielder, combined to shutout the Elks in game two as the pair of right-handers allowed just four hits.

Patti finished the Saturday doubleheader with three more hits, three more runs scored and two RBIs. In the eight-game tournament Patti, Centennial's starting catcher since his sophomore season, hit .523 with five RBIs and an on-base percentage of .642 (18-for-28).

Christian Wolfe and Fratantuono also had big days offensively in the doubleheader sweeps. Wolfe, an All-MIAA A Conference first baseman at John Carroll High in Bel Air, is headed to Harford Community College. The smooth-fielding first baseman went 8-for-12 with two home runs, two doubles, three triples and a whopping 13 RBIs in the wins over Palomino and the Elks with eight runs scored, while Fratantuono finished the two days 8-14 with a home run, double, five RBIs and six runs scored.

The four wins earned the Orioles a berth in Sunday's round of 16. Peltz, who finished his junior year at Gibbons with an 8-2 record, pitched a four-hit complete game as the Orioles eliminated the Long Island Lions, the defending NABF World Series champs, 8-1.

Fratantuono, Schmidt and Doyle led the way offensively as the Orioles scored five runs in the second inning off Long Island starter Mike Valanitri on RBI base hits from Davis, Franke, Patti and Kenny Gosnel, a rising senior at North County.

Doyle busted the game open in the fourth inning with a three-run double that scored Fratantuono, Franke and Schmidt to give Peltz a commanding lead. That set up a quarterfinal showdown with the Liberty Christian Academy Sunday night at City Field in Lynchburg and it was Wolfe who again gave Gary Fratantuono a strong effort on the mound.

The 6-foot-3 left-hander pitched a two-hit, complete-game masterpiece, striking out seven and allowing just four base runners.

Dominic Fratantuono provided much of the offense with a single, double and two runs scored as the Orioles beat Liberty, 2-1. Wolfe struck out the side in the fifth and ended the game with back-to-back strikeouts as the Orioles raised their tournament record to 6-0.

They made it 7-0 in the semifinals Monday morning as Franke won his second game of the tournament, a 3-2 win over the Carroll County Rangers, which featured Chris Eckard, Derrick Loan and Kenny Georgius of Westminster High, Andy Levy of North Carroll and Brady Maxcy of Francis Scott Key.

The game was tied at two after three innings until the Orioles punched across the game-winning run in the fourth. Patti, whose one-out single off Georgius got the inning started, scored on ground ball by Schillinberg.

Franke made the lead stand as he struck out the side in the seventh inning to nail down the Orioles' seventh straight win. That set up a showdown with the Virginia Barnstormers for the championship.

Schillinberg made his second start and though he allowed just one earned run, it was not enough as Kenny Towns of Lake Braddock High in Virginia shutout the Orioles on five hits.

Three times the Orioles had a runner on third base but were unable to score as Towns made two remarkable plays on the mound off line drives by Franke and Beckwith.

Still, the championship appearance by the Orioles was the latest in what has been a strong run from a core of players that first began playing for Gary Fratantuono six years ago.

Wolfe, Davis, Schmidt, Beckwith, Doyle, Dominic Fratantuono and Patti all played on a team that won the NABF U-13 World Series four years ago.

The Orioles hit .354 as a team through their eight games in this year's U-17 tournament. Fratantuono hit .538 with a home run, four doubles, a triple, six RBIs and 10 runs scored. Wolfe hit .454 with two home runs, 13 RBIs and 10 runs scored while Patti hit .523 and was superb behind the plate. Schmidt hit .380 with six RBIS while Peltz hit .428 with five RBIs.

Franke won two games on the mound, striking out 19 while allowing just two hits in 11 innings. In all, the Orioles pitching staff allowed just seven runs and 20 hits in 51 innings.

Posted August 10, 2009