Carroll County put an indelible stamp on Maryland softball on Sunday, as three teams with local connections won state titles.
V's Teeswon the Amateur Softball Association's men's Class C state tournament, which was played at the Carroll County Sports Complex.
Harrell Agency, a Carroll-based Men's League squad, took the National Softball Association's men's Class C state title at Upton near Glen Burnie, Anne Arundel County.
The two state titles were the first for Carroll men's teams since the mid-1980's.
Finally the Renegades, of the Carroll County Women's Softball League, won the ASA-D state title at the Wicomico County Sports Complex near Salisbury.
The Renegades, which includes several Carroll players, had it easiest of the three, going 4-0 in the 11-team tournament field. Manager Bob Patterson credited the competition in the Carroll Women's League for toughening his team.
"I think the league is better than any of the teams that were down there," he said.
The Renegades won their final three games by a combined score of 26-5, including a 5-0 shutout inthe title game.
"Usually our defense is good, and our hitting isn't very consistent," Patterson said. "But it all came together, I guess."
Manchester resident Tammy Richards led the Renegades with a .583 tournament batting average.
The victory gave the team a berth in ASA's class D Mid-Atlantic regional scheduled for the Carroll County Sports Complex, Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.
That same weekend will findV's Tees -- which competes in the Carroll County Men's League and the South Carroll Athletic Association and is comprised of Baltimore and Carroll County players -- inPetersburg, Va., for the ASA-C regional.
But V's had to survive a heart-stopper Sunday to earn its berth.
Concrete Supply of Laurel, Prince George's County, had knocked V's into the losers' bracket with an 11-10 squeaker earlier in the day.
V's then topped Aberdeen American Legion, 12-4, in the losers' bracket finale, to set up a second confrontation with the Laurel squad.
V's led all the way to beat the Laurel team, 9-4, in their next meeting, leaving each team with one loss in the double-elimination fray, and forcing a final game.
Concrete Supply led the deciding game, 9-5, until the fifth.
In that frame, though, V's erupted for eight runs on nine hits, climaxed by a three-run homer from Mike Kraus, to go ahead 13-9.
Things looked even rosier when V's was ahead 17-10 with the opposition down to its final out in the seventh. But Concrete Supply struck for six runs and loaded the bases.
"I could seeit slipping away. We couldn't get that final out," said V's manager and sponsor, Norman "Vic" Vicarini, of Finksburg.
But with V's ahead 17-16, the sacks jammed, two out, a full count, and everybody's heart in his throat, the Concrete
Supply batter fouled the next pitch, which is an out by tourney rules.
"It's the greatest thing that's ever happened to me," Vicarini said of his team's state title.
Harrell's manager Doug Green was also happy over his state crown, butnot nearly so elated.
After all, he and others on this veteran team have been on state champions before and are used to winning.
This year, they have won seven tournaments and are 76-16 in league and tournament play, including a 23-3 mark that tops the entire 32-team Carroll County Men's League.
They've been so good that they were the pretourney bet to top the 36-team NSA field, Green said.
But after winning their first four games, they were upended by Laurel American Legion, 11-7, on Sunday. Afterward, the team's usual easygoing attitude suddenly changed.
"Something lit up in each individual. There was a seriousness there and a lot of joking was gone. There was a 'Now let's go get them attitude,' " said Green.
Harrell's proceededto do just that, winning five straight times.
In the final two games, played against the Laurel Legion squad, Green made a pitching change. He called upon veteran Brandt Schanberger, who had been playingthird base.
"Brandt had pitched well against them in other tournaments," said Green.
And he did it again Sunday at Upton, beating the Legion, 10-6, and then blanking it, 10-0, in the championship.
His pitching success and a stratospheric batting average of .818 landed Schanberger the tournament's MVP award.
Harrell has won berths in several regional and national softball tournaments this year, the first being NSA's Aug. 17-18 National Regional in York, Pa.
"We'reready to go," Green said.