FREDERICK -- Well-rested after their District titles, Westminster's age 13, 14 and 15 baseball squads zeroed in on the state Babe Ruth championship tourney at McCurdy Field here over the weekend.
And, while their early results were mixed, the three teams were all still alive at press time.
Matt Tozer's 13-year-olds started fast, winning 8-3 over Mason-Dixon in Sunday's opener.
Westminster slashed open a 2-2 game with a five-run second inning, keyed by two-run singles from Bobby Warfield and Brian Tozer.
Warfield also handled the pitching chores, using a fast ball and curve to tame his Frederick-based opponents.
"He kept them off-balance most of the game, particularly the middle of their batting order," manager Tozer said.
"We made very few mistakes, very few errors. We made the plays we had to," he added, recalling his pre-tourney statement that the team that made the fewest mistakes would win the title.
"It was good to get a win. That opening game will help the kids and give them confidence. They're saying, 'Hey, we can win this thing,' " Tozer said.
Westminster's age 15 squad split its first two games.
It blanked Kent County 5-0 in Friday night's opener but then lost a heart-breaking 6-5 decision to Anne Arundel County Sunday evening.
Kyle Maxey pitched five innings and Andy Marsiglia the final two in Friday's blank job, and Skip Faries homered for the winners.
Sunday also looked good when Jerry Brooks hit a two-run first-inning homer and the locals led 4-1 after four innings.
But Arundel rallied, scoring the tying run with two outs in the seventh and winning in the eighth.
Westminster 15 coach Ray Shipley said his team might have put the game out of reach, but "we couldn't get the hit when we needed it."
While saying that exiting the losers' bracket won't be easy, Shipley noted that in 1990, his Westminster age 13 team lost its opener but went on to win the Babe Ruth state championship.
He also said his current team has the pitching needed to handle the large number of games it must now play.
"We have five, six who can pitch. I believe we have good pitching depth," he said.
Shipley didn't seemed too concerned about the task ahead. Instead, he quoted an assistant who told his players after Sunday's disappointing loss, "Now instead of having to practice every day, we'll just play every day."
Westminster's age 14 team got off to a bad start Monday morning as Prince George's County No. 2 prevailed 8-3.
The game was decided early, as Prince George's shot to an 8-0 lead after only two innings and Westminster never threatened.
Robert Larkin shut down Prince George's after the second with a scoreless five-inning relief performance, although the damage had already been done.
But like Shipley, 14 coach George Webster also looked to the past for a ray of hope. He noted that last year, his squad lost its first state tourney game yet still went to the finals before falling.
"I've been there before," he said, adding that 11 of his current players were members of that team and are used to the pressures of an early fall to the losers' bracket.
But he also showed that he appreciates the magnitude of the task ahead, saying, "We'll have to knuckle down. It's do or die now."
The Westminster age 15 team played Tuesday night after press time, while the age 13 and 14 squads were scheduled to play today.