Mayo takes to favorite's role easily

August 05, 1994|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

Bernie Walter relishes his team's role as the favorite in the American Legion Maryland State Baseball Tournament, which begins today at Hagerstown Municipal Stadium.

The veteran coach has been around the league long enough to know that his Mayo Post No. 226 Wildcats won't be able to tiptoe into Tuesday's state championship final.

The word is out and the rest of the seven district champions participating in the double-elimination tournament know that to represent the state at the national regional championship Aug. 19-23 in Colonial Heights, Va., they must first get past Mayo -- a team that has won the state title four of the past six years.

"We're not sneaking up on anyone anymore, I know that," said Walter, whose team won the states last year and made it to the semifinals of the American Legion Region II Tournament before being eliminated by Rockland, N.Y. "Maybe we snuck up on teams 10 or 20 years ago, but not anymore."

Dewey Lowman Post No. 109 (31-7-2), a Catonsville-based team representing the Northern-Central District, is hoping its 19-year absence from the state tournament will have opponents looking past them, but for now, second-year coach Rich Griser is just enjoying the attention and hoping to make the most of a rare opportunity.

Griser's team opens the tournament at 5 p.m. today against Western District champion Frederick.

Anchoring Dewey Lowman's squad are two sets of brothers in Scott and Tom Bloom and twins Tim and Tom Crough. Tom Bloom, a rising junior at Catonsville High, was the ace of Dewey's pitching staff as he went 7-2 during the regular season with a 1.27 ERA while Scott, a third-year player and team captain, batted .360.

Tim Crough, who is entering his senior year at Lansdowne, leads Post 109 in hitting with a .405 average and his brother Tom, a shortstop, is batting .356.

Mayo's pitching staff is talented, but its depth should prove to be more of a factor during the five-day tournament.

Mike Cozzone and J.P. Noon will split time catching a staff that includes University of Maryland-bound Brandon Agamennone (9-0, 0.77 ERA), Mike Bussey (9-2, 0.64), Jamie Stoddard (8-2, 2.24), Wade Rolocut (5-0, 2.60) and Jeff Haynie (8-1, 2.79).

"This will be a difficult tournament to win because there are a lot of good teams, but I think we're in pretty good shape," said Walter, whose team will open the tournament at 7:30 tonight against Potomac Post 202. "You need solid pitching in these

type tournaments and we have that."

FACTS AND FIGURES

What: American Legion Maryland State Tournament

When: Today through Tuesday

Where: Hagerstown Municipal Stadium

SCHEDULE

* Today: Game 1 -- Chaney (Charles County) vs. Garrett County, 10 a.m.; Game 2 -- Bethesda-CC vs. Cambridge, 1 p.m.; Game 3 -- Dewey Lowman Post 109 vs. Frederick, 5 p.m.; Game 4 -- Mayo Post 226 vs. Potomac Post 202, 7:30 p.m.

* Tomorrow: Game 5 -- Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 3, 10 a.m.; Game 6 -- Loser of Game 2 vs. Loser of Game 4, 1 p.m.; Game 7 -- Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 3, 5 p.m.; Game 8 -- Winner of Game 2 vs. Winner of Game 4, 7:30 p.m.

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