FREDERICK — Bernie Walter sat facing his Mayo Post 226 players in the dugout of Harry Grove Stadium yesterday moments after failing to win his fourthstraight American Legion state baseball title.
He wasn't used to having to ask his players to return their uniforms this early. It wasmore a practice to congratulate them on a great win.
"In the end, there were just too many factors to overcome in the game," Walter said after Mayo's 13-8 loss to Farrady Post 24 of Frostburg.
Although his club pounded out the same number of hits (14) as Farrady, Walter said, "The important factor is that (Farrady) has agood-hitting ballclub."
With only six players returning from lastyear's national champion club, Mayo had been facing an uphill climb throughout the season. It had used a 20-5 streak to win the county title, erasing a 24-17 midseason record.
But was winning a fourth straight American Legion state title too much to ask?
Walter never thought so.
Even after John Cutter's two-out, two-run homer in the eighth gave Farrady its winning margin, he never thought so.
"I thought we'd be state champions, to be perfectly honest with you," Walter said, "and it's disappointing that we're not."
Mayo (45-23) haddefeated Farrady, 7-2, in the 10 a.m. opener of the doubleheader, behind left-hander Doug Stockman, whose complete game featured six strikeouts and two walks.
Stockman (1-0) won the tournament's pitchingaward, striking out 12 and giving up just one earned run overall.
Mayo had to win the first game to force a second in the final round,because Farrady had been unbeaten in the double-elimination tournament and Mayo had already lost a game.
In the second game, Walter watched Farrady (23-2) take a 5-0 lead on as many hits in the first inning, only to have Mayo creep back to 5-2 three innings later.
But Mayo trailed, 7-2, after the fourth.
In the fifth, Mayo used back-to-back singles by catcher Chris Dinoto (.500 for the tournament) andLarry Dobson, a walk by John Bussey and Mike Mahoney's fielder's choice to come within 7-3. Chris Durocher's two-run double brought the club to within 7-5.
The score was 7-6 after Eric Scott's sixth-inning RBI single, but Farrady responded with a four-hit, four-run barrage in the bottom of the inning.
Farrady used Shane McKenzie's two-run double, Dave Kennell's RBI triple and a Rick Duckworth RBI single for a commanding 11-6 lead.
Mayo's Scott Young scored, making it 11-7, when Dinoto's shot bounced off the glove of third baseman Jason Cutter in the eighth. Later, Bussey's no-outs, bases-loaded fielder'schoice led to another run.
John Cutter (.339, seven RBI), the tournament's MVP, went the distance and had two wins, a save and 20 strikeouts for the tournament.
Left-hander Jim Simms had a 13-strikeout performance in Mayo's 9-2 win over Raveijo Post 195 Saturday. But Farrady, which averaged more than 12 hits a game, shelled Simms for five hits in the first inning yesterday.
"We just made too many mistakes," said Dinoto, a member of last year's squad. "It was disappointing to lose, but they were a good squad. They got a lot of hits."
Walter said, "The team played exceptionally well the last three weeksof the season, never giving in an inch. But we've got nine returningplayers next year."
In the first game, Larry Dobson's ninth-inning, two-run homer -- Mayo's 12th hit -- all but signaled the end for Farrady.
Farrady was still within striking distance in the ninth. But with two outs and the bases loaded, Rick Burley grounded out.
Stockman was impressive in the first game, steadying himself after thefirst two innings and 49 pitches of an eventual 117-pitch, nine-hit effort. He tossed just nine pitches in both the fourth and fifth innings and only seven in each of the sixth and eighth innings.
Farrady's Rick Duckworth, the tournament's leading batter with a .695 average, went 1-for-5 against Stockman, striking out twice.
"I threw the ball where they couldn't hit it. They were all swinging late," saidStockman. "The last inning I walked my second batter, and I looked over and saw the other guys warming up, but I didn't want to come out."
Dobson's homer made up for two early errors -- the first of which came on the play that allowed Farrady to take a 1-0 first-inning lead.
"I thought that I had lost the game for us, and I was really down," said Dobson.
"But then when Dinoto hit his home run, that lifted my spirits."
Dinoto's fourth-inning, 400-foot solo homer overthe center-field wall tied the game, 1-1.
"To tell you the truth,I didn't think my shot was going," said Dinoto, who went 3-for-5 with a seventh-inning RBI single that gave his club a 4-2 lead. "That was the shot that started us really hitting, I think. That's what we needed."
Farrady had beaten Mayo in Sunday's quarterfinal game, 15-11, a contest that featured 16 hits from Farrady, 12 by Mayo and five errors from each team.
Mayo rebounded with a 12-5 win over Funkstown Post 211 on Monday. Funkstown lost, 8-3, to Mayo in the first round to set up yesterday's doubleheader.