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Tough ending to a year of growth

The Cumberland Dukes Majors had a promising spring but struggled with the transition to the All-Star season.

Unlike some counties with larger player pools, Cumberland had only one team at the Dixie Youth Baseball Major League level, putting the Dukes at a disadvantage in the District 4 Majors All-Star Tournament in Buckingham last weekend.

Cumberland Majors Manager Paul Frankart noted that the Dukes’ district opponents — Amelia, Goochland and Buckingham — had three or four regular season teams to pull from when forming their respective all-star squads.

The Dukes All-Star team was largely the same team that played during the regular season, except for a couple of player replacements called up from the younger Minor League division.

“I’ve got a couple kids that never played baseball before and a couple kids that took a year or two off,” Frankart said. “But they all improved. I will say this — from day one, they all improved.”

He said the team finished the regular season with a 7-9 record.

“I just moved into Cumberland last year,” he said. “This is my first year with the team. From what I hear is this team was a lot better than what it was last year.”

While the squad was eliminated from the 2017 district tourney after lopsided losses to the Amelia and Goochland All-Star teams, it should enjoy great continuity going into the 2018 season.

“I’ve only got one kid that’s going to be aging out, so hopefully all of them will be returning next year,” Frankart said.

Standouts this year for the Dukes included pitchers Cole Dalton, Paul “Trey” Frankart and Ian Shifflett.