FREDERICK — By the time the ninth inning rolled around, Mayo Post 226's AmericanLegion state baseball semifinal game with Funkstown Post 211 had turned into a rout.
The national champions and three-time defending state titlists had hammered three pitchers for 16 hits en route to a 12-5 victory behind the bats of Scott Young (3-for-5), Eric Scott (4-for-5), Chris Dinoto (3-for-6), Larry Dobson (2-for-6) and Chris Durocher (2-for-3).
Mayo (44-22) broke the game open with a five-run eighth and a three-run ninth, but winning pitcher Jeff Beard (2-for-5), with 16 strikeouts over nine innings, will be the first to tell you it wasn't easy.
"I was walking a lot of people in the early part of the game, getting behind and forcing 3-2 situations," said Beard, who had a one-hitter going with 10 strikeouts after 5 2/3 innings.
Beard, who gave up five each in walks and hits, fanned all but one batter, Chris Ricker, who went 2-for-3 with a double and a single.
"There were a lot of times where I had to bear down on the batters," Beard said. "But when we started to hit the ball, that made it a lot easier for me."
In the seventh inning, he faced a full count against Funkstown's Mike Martin with two outs, the score 4-2, and men on first and third.But he registered his 13th strikeout to end the inning.
"He pitched an outstanding game, a tremendous game," Mayo coach Bernie Walter said of Beard, who beat Funkstown, 8-3, in Friday's first-round game."He's got command of three pitches, and he's our No. 1 pitcher at this point."
Beard helped his own cause against Funkstown in the eighth with his squad's 12th hit, following Eric Hontz's RBI single withone of his own to push Mayo to a 6-2 lead.
He later slid home on a grounder in the same inning to make it 7-2, before consecutive run-scoring base hits by Dinoto and Dobson made it 9-2.
Funkstown, which had battled through the consolations with wins over Cheverly, 4-3,and Frederick, 9-4, was a good tuneup for Mayo.
But Walter wants another crack at Farraday Post 224, which beat Mayo in Sunday's quarterfinal game, 15-11. The contest included 16 hits by Farraday, 12 by Mayo and five errors by each team.
Farraday entered last night's semifinal with Raveijo Post 195 with an overall 21-2 record.
A victory by Farraday over Raveijo means Mayo must beat the Frostburg-basedteam twice without a loss to win its fourth state title.
"We've gotta win two. It doesn't matter who we play," said Walter, whose squad used Jim Simms' 13-strikeout performance to beat Raveijo, 9-2, Saturday.