Martin Oil will represent the George B. Kelley Federation as its league champion in this weekend's National Amateur Baseball Federation Regional Tournament.
On Wednesday night, Martin Oil manager Ron Mock was thrilled to learn that his team will play the Hoosic Valley Rangers, a squad from the Albany, N.Y. area, in an opening-round game under the lights tonight at 7 p.m. at Vets Field.
"I'd rather open with a night game,'' Mock said at the managers' meeting for the tournament's four teams which was held Wednesday night at Altoona's Holiday Inn Express Hotel. "I think that will get more of our fans there.''
The double-elimination tournament officially opens today at 4 p.m. at Vets Field, when the other area entry, Kelley Federation runner-up ReMax Realty, battles Greenbelt Post 136, a Maryland team from the Washington, D.C. suburbs.
Play resumes Friday with games at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. at Mansion Park. The championship game is set for noon Saturday at Mansion. If another game is necessary, it will be played 20 minutes after the conclusion of the noon Saturday game.
The winner of this NABF Regional will advance to the NABF National Tournament, set for next weekend in Struthers, Ohio.
Martin Oil finished the regular season with a 16-2 record in the Kelley Federation. After drawing a first-round playoff bye, Martin won its best-of-three semifinal playoff series with Dick's Pharmacy in three games, and defeated ReMax in what turned out to be a five-game league championship series.
Mock announced Wednesday that Martin added pick-up players Damian Moist of the D.C. Moyer squad and Jordan Rabits of the Park Furniture team. Moist, a righthander, may be Martin's starting pitcher tonight.
Hoosic Valley appeared here in the NABF Regional last July, winning two of four games. Hoosic Valley competes in the Eastern New York Travel League, and finished second in that circuit this year with a 12-10 record.
"Our kids are really anxious to play,'' Mock said. "I believe we can compete in this tournament. We won our league championship, and anything we can do here is a plus.''
ReMax is making its second straight NABF Regional appearance. Last year, ReMax was ousted from the regional in two straight games.
ReMax pick-up players include J. Johnson, Ethan Adams, and Nate Morgan from Dick's Pharmacy, and Kyle Ainsworth, Dalton Price and Robbie Yahner from Park Furniture. Johnson will be ReMax's starting pitcher in today's 4 p.m. game against Greenbelt Post 136, which competes in the Frank Riley League in northern Maryland.
ReMax acting manager Brian Mercer is hoping that his team can get off to a quick start by winning today's opening game.
"It's always important to get out and get that first win,'' Mercer said. "It will help us to build our confidence, and to see where we're at as a team.''