FREDERICK — When it comes to the pros responding to heckling fans, the big leaguers have got Mayo shortstop Scott Young beat -- but not by much.
Take Friday's Mayo Post 226's game with Funkstown, won by Mayo, 8-3, at Harry Grove Stadium in the first round of the double-elimination, American Legion state baseball championships.
Young stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with his squad holding a shaky, 4-3 lead. For an instant, the stadium went quiet.
"The count was 2-and-2 and I heard somebody say 'just throwit by him, he can't hit the ball. He hasn't done it all day,' " saidYoung, who had walked, struck out and grounded out in his previous at-bats against hurler Chris Schlotterbeck.
"The next pitch, I got a triple, and they were still quiet."
Second baseman Eric Scott followed up with an RBI double, sparking a four-run, six-hit seventh-inning for the defending national champions in their bid for an unprecedented fourth straight state title.
"Teams know we can play because we're the national champions. So I think they try to get into our heads and try to beat us that way," said Young. "But we block all thatstuff out. We just come to play baseball."
Schlotterbeck left themound in that inning after 110 pitches, eight strikeouts and seven hits, and Mayo went on to earn the right to play the winner of the A. J. Raveio/Talbot game in a 5 p.m. contest yesterday.
Although Mayohammered three opposing pitchers for 11 hits, neither Young or Scotthad a good day at the plate. Each was 1-for-4 on the day -- Scott also struck out and walked once.
But each player made up for his shortcomings at the plate with his flashy infield play.
Jeff Beard picked up the win, throwing 82 pitches with six strikeouts and giving up four each in hits and walks. Left-hander Doug Stockman (four strikeouts, three hits) took over for Beard in the fifth, closing the game with a three-strikeout ninth inning.
At the end of the first inning, however, Beard already had thrown 32 pitches, given up his first hit, walked three batters and yielded a run with two outs to give Funkstown a 1-0 lead.
Chris Dinoto drove in Young to tie the game, 1-1, in the bottom of the inning. After a walk, Scott scored from third as an error by first baseman Mike Martin allowed Larry Dobson to reach first, then second base. Dinoto crossed the plate on that play for Mayo's 3-1 lead heading into the second.
Beard then struck out theside on 18 pitches, but the offense left runners stranded on third base in each of the first, second and third innings.
"We should have beaten this team a lot worse than we did, and we know that," said catcher Dinoto (2-for-3, two walks), who scored twice and doubled twice -- each of his hits hugging the right-field line.
"Some games wehit, and guys aren't getting on base, or some times we just leave them on," said third baseman Chris Durocher (2-for-4), who twice was left stranded on a bag. "Today, we just left too many on."
Durocher,the No. 9 batter, led off with a single in the second, only to watchthe next three batters get out. In the fourth, Durocher singled and went to second on Beard's sacrifice bunt before the next two batters once more were taken out.
Mayo led, 4-1, in the third when Dinoto scored on a Mike Mahoney single. But Funkstown closed to within 4-3 in the next inning when Chris Ricker and Frank Corsi nailed Beard for a run-scoring single and double, respectively.
That's when Stockman replaced Beard.
"Beard had thrown a lot of pitches, and I thought he was losing his rhythm," said Mayo coach Bernie Walter, whose squad (42-21) has won 18 of its last 22 games.
"I thought Beard had good arm strength, but he was a little bit wild. Stockman came in and did a good job."
Don Wishard relieved Schlotterbeck with a 3-2 count on Dobson, who had gone 0-for-3 with a two strikeouts, but Dobson drove in Scott for a 6-3 lead.
Said Durocher: "When the clutch players didn't come through early, the other players did."
One of those players was Dinoto.
"The top of the lineup usually gets the hits for us, but a lot of people came out tentative today," said Dinoto."As the tournament goes on, I expect us to play well the way that we're capable of playing."