A second-place finish in the Frank Riley League was not what Chaney Enterprises Coach Ed Glaeser expected when the season started in June. For the Waldorf-based team, it was a tough summer, and it was disappointing not to earn a berth in the American Legion state playoffs with a first-place league finish.

But Chaney redeemed itself last Thursday through Sunday, winning five of six games at the National Amateur Baseball Federation playoffs in Altoona, Pa., to advance to the NABF World Series, which begins this Saturday in Evansville, Ind.

"To win something like this, where the talent is probably even greater than what we'd see at the state tournament . . . is a unique opportunity," said Glaeser, whose team had won six consecutive league titles before this season--including three state championships from 1994-96. "It's not too often people get the chance to go to a World Series on any level."

In the championship game, Chaney had to beat Goldstein's Furniture of Ohio--a team it already had beaten once by a slim 5-4 margin and lost to once (15-8 in 10 innings) in the tournament--to advance. The game again went 10 innings, but this time Chaney came away with the 14-12 win.

As he has all season, Thomas Stone graduate Nick Vitielliss led Chaney on the mound. Vitielliss, who Glaeser said threw more than coaches had wanted him to, had a hand in all six games.

"I even went against my own personal regulations for pitchers . . . " Glaeser said. "We'd rather not do that, but we had several people pitch for us that just didn't give us the innings we needed."

Vitielliss did get a reprieve in the field, however, with the addition of Tracy Vallandingham, who played shortstop to allow Vitielliss to rest when he was not pitching. Vallandingham was added to the Chaney roster after the end of the regular season, along with Derek Devitis, Justin Hill, Kevin Burch and Eric Franc.

"They upgraded our team in the areas where we were average, even lethargic, during the regular season," Glaeser said. "With them, with our entire 20-man roster, now we have a chance at the World Series."

Little League

Hughesville Wins Md. Title

The Hughesville Little League 13-14-year-olds added a state championship to their list of accomplishments this season with back-to-back wins over Riviera Beach in a best two-of-three series last weekend.

The win advances Hughesville to the double-elimination eastern regional tournament beginning Saturday in Port Monmouth, N.J., where it will open against the Delaware state champions and play for a berth in the Little League World Series in Michigan.

Daryl Thompson played a big role in Hughesville's first win over Riviera Beach, pitching a four-hitter and yielding just two walks in five complete innings. George Beuchert went 3-for-3 from the plate and Mike Bridgett and T.C. Renner went 2-for-3, respectively, to lead Hughesville. The game, an 11-0 win for Hughesville, was called after five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule. . . .

The magic ended for the Western Charles Little League All-Stars last week. After compiling a remarkable 28-0 record as a 16-18-year-old team and winning the District 7 Lou Zwick Memorial Invitational and the District 7 Senior League All-Star tournaments, the Western Charles All-Stars saw their season come to a close July 28 in Salisbury. Western Charles dropped two of three games to the Cambridge All-Stars, who advanced to the eastern regional tournament.

Western Charles struck first with a 7-5 win Monday, but Cambridge answered Tuesday with a 7-4 win and used a two-run home run in the seventh inning Wednesday to emerge with a 9-7 victory in the decisive third game.

Drag Racing

Shootouts Resume at MIR

The second weekend of the Computech Bill Mitchell Shootouts kicks off tomorrow at Maryland International Raceway. The shootouts--with $5,000 to win Super Pro on Friday and Saturday and $10,000 to win on Sunday--are the richest multi-weekend quarter-mile Super Pro ET Series shootouts in the region.

Gates for this weekend's drag racing open at 4 p.m. tomorrow, with eliminations at 7 p.m.; 11 a.m. Saturday, with eliminations at 5 p.m.; and 10 a.m. Sunday, with eliminations at 1:30 p.m. Admission is $12 per day.

The first weekend of the shootouts was held June 11-13. Winners of Friday's and Saturday's action were Mark Cook of Lagrange, Ohio, and Bob Patton of Accokeek. Mike Alexander of Mechanicsville, Va., was the runner-up to Cook on Friday and Stacy Johnson of Dumfries, Va., finished second to Patton on Saturday. The competition was halted prematurely on Sunday because of rain; the 38 Super Pro drivers remaining when the race was called split the $10,000 purse.

The final weekend of the Computech Bill Mitchell Shootouts is scheduled for Sept. 24-26.

Basketball

Cougars Beat Suitland

The Southern Maryland Cougars (16-4) got clutch performances from Jewel Clark and Necka Lancaster on Monday night at Largo High in a double-overtime win over Suitland in the finals of the 1999 McDonald's Summer Slam, a Prince George's County summer basketball league.

Tied at 54 at the end of regulation and at 63 at the end of the first overtime, the Cougars (made up of area basketball players from Thomas Stone, La Plata and Westlake high schools) pulled away in the second overtime period for a 74-68 win. Clark, a rising senior at Thomas Stone, scored a game-high 28 points. Lancaster, a rising senior at La Plata, added 21. The two girls shared game MVP honors. Meredith Bell, a rising junior at Westlake, added eight.

Second-team All-Met Kiki Wimbush led Suitland with 23 points.