Mayo closes in on state crown Unbeaten Wildcats in Legion finals

August 11, 1993|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

Heavy rain on Friday delayed the start of the American Legion State Baseball Tournament by one day. It did nothing to slow Mayo Post 226.

The Wildcats have won their first four games, including yesterday's 6-3 decision over Funkstown Post 211, to advance to today's championship round at McCurdy Field in Frederick.

They are seeking a fourth state title, and the first since 1990, when they were crowned national champions.

Mayo is the only undefeated team left in the double-elimination tournament and needs to win just one game today to clinch a berth in the regionals in Boyertown, Pa.

Two teams were competing last night in the losers' bracket to determine Mayo's opponent.

Left-hander Jeff Haney pitched a four-hitter through 7 1/3 innings yesterday, and right fielder Ryan Dempsey doubled in two runs to break a 2-2 tie in the third.

Funkstown grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the third on singles by Jeff Mongan and Joshua Jones and a one-out triple to right-center by Kevin Crawford. Haney walked the next batter, but he struck out Ronnie Palmer looking and got Brian Miller to bounce to short.

It took two pitches in the bottom half of the inning for Mayo to even the score. Haney led off with a double to right-center off Mongan, and Jeff Hedrick connected on a hanging curveball for a two-run homer to left.

"The first time up, he struck me out with a curveball," Hedrick said. "I saw him shake off a pitch, so I was thinking curveball. He hung it, and I got a hold of it."

The Wildcats were just getting started that inning.

Wade Rolocut walked, Tim Giles singled and Dempsey lined a two-run double to right-center.

Haney gave up a lead-off single to Todd Middlekauff in the fourth, then retired nine in a row with six strikeouts. He also padded Mayo's lead with an RBI ground out in the sixth.

The Old Mill High School graduate was replaced by Mike Bussey after walking Joshua Jones and Crawford with one out in the eighth. He finished with nine strikeouts.

"He had been struggling a bit; he lost a little bit of his confidence," said coach Bernie Walter, who in his sixth season with Mayo has a 318-88 record, including 58-8 this summer. "I think he gained it back today. If he didn't, he's never going to."

Jim Taylor drove in a run in the seventh with a grounder that scored Mike Cozzone, who had reached second when Funkstown outfielders Crawford and Middlekauff allowed a fly ball to drop between them for an error.

"This was a tough game to play," Walter said. "We had an undefeated team [Francis Scott Key Post 11] last night [Monday], and then we had to get up the next morning. It was a difficult circumstance, and the kids did a nice job."

Mayo forgot to bring its offense to the first game on Saturday, when the Wildcats struggled past Dundalk Post 38, 2-1. But with Brandon Agamennone pitching a complete game and striking out seven, Mayo didn't need many runs.

"We just didn't hit in that game," Walter said.

The Wildcats made up for it the next day, when they romped over Farraday Post 24, 13-0. Cozzone and Giles each homered, and Bussey tossed a four-hitter with nine strikeouts.

On Monday night, the Wildcats made it three straight with a 10-5 win over Francis Scott Key -- the defending state champions. Brian Sands pitched the first five innings and also contributed two RBI. Giles, who belted a three-run homer, picked up the save.

Rolocut had two hits, two RBI and three runs scored. He stole home for Mayo's final run.

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