WESTMINSTER -- Two county men's softball league teams brought back many memories from last weekend, when they knocked heads with 32 other teams in the 1992 Amateur Softball Association Class D state championship tournament held at the county sports complex.
James Contracting's players will recall the great catches, big hits and, particularly, a certain T-shirt that helped them win the tournament and make them this year's Class D ASA state champions.
EVAPCO's warriors will recall somewhat fewer big plays and two nightmarish seventh innings that knocked them out of the tournament.
But though they finished sixth, they were still rewarded, as was James, with a berth in ASA's Labor Day weekend Class D regional tournament at Drifton, Pa. Their team has never played in a regional before.
And all who played under drizzly skies at the complex will remember the heroics of the county grounds crew whose Saturday morning efforts to repair inundated fields saved the tourney from a watery grave.
The fix-up delayed the tourney a few hours. But when it started, James Contracting was ready.
Sykesville/Eldersburg-based James Contracting won its first four games.
But Dundalk's Steel Town nipped it 10-9 in nine innings in Sunday afternoon's winners-bracket final.
Afterward, James manager Cliff Yeager tried to rouse his troops, who faced the task of playing in the losers' bracket, haunted by the memory that they had come close in last year's United States Slow-pitch Softball Association's Class D state tourney, only to finish second.
But it was team member Mike Stoll who provided the perfect wake-up call when he whipped out one of the T-shirts awarded to last year's USSSA Class D runners-up and announced, "We don't want second place again."
With that symbol of 1991's frustration hanging on the backstop to spur them on, a rejuvenated James Contracting made short work of its next three opponents.
After downing Myers TV of Emmitsburg, 16-6, it swamped Steel Town 16-5 in a rematch and then blanked the Dundalk-based squad 11-0 in the deciding game.
"We were really smoking the ball," Yeager said, but quickly added, "Defense was the key. They were hitting shots but we were catching them. This was our best defensive tournament in years."
James was 7-1 for the weekend.
EVAPCO, on the other hand, went 5-2.
The team was frustrated in its opener when the Angle Inn Athletics of Dundalk scored six runs in the home seventh to win, 12-11.
But EVAPCO recovered, winning its next five games and setting up Sunday afternoon's contest with Myers TV.
That match again showed that the number seven was not lucky for EVAPCO, as Myers scored five runs in its final at-bat to win 17-16, knocking EVAPCO out of the tournament.
Nevertheless, EVAPCO still has that September date at Drifton.
"We finally got [a regional berth]. We're really glad for it, I'll tell you that," said enthusiastic EVAPCO manager Craig Dutterer.
"The guys are really up for it and they're ready to go," he added.
But despite that enthusiasm, he is aware of the test his team faces in Pennsylvania.
"I know there'll be some good teams up there," Dutterer said.
Other Carroll County Men's Softball League teams in the tournament were Random House, which was 3-2, along with Plunkert Construction and PRA, both of which were 1-2.