HAGERSTOWN —Funkstown Post 211 couldn’t have asked much more from starting pitch J.T. Root.
Root hurled eight strong innings in Funkstown’s 4-2 victory over Wicomico Post 65 Wednesday night in the opening round of the Maryland American Legion State tournament.
“I executed my pitches well tonight,” Root said. “I was able to consistently throw strikes and my the defense played great behind me.”
Root finished with eight strikeouts.
“I wanted to go all nine," he said, "but we had to think about the rest of the tournament.”
Root got all the run support he needed in the third inning as Funkstown scored three runs. Jake Bachtell hit a two-run triple to break the scoreless tie. He later scored when Trevor Haupt was caught in a run down between first and second base with two outs and crossed the plate before the tag was applied to Haupt.
“We had some bugs in the beginning, but shook them off pretty early,” Funkstown manager Jeff Williams said. “We got on top first, which helped.”
Wicomico starting pitcher Connan Cropper also posted a solid performance on the mound, but was pulled after 6 1/3 innings of work. He allowed only one run on seven hits, struck out six and walked four.
“It was a terrific baseball game,” Williams said. “Both sides pitched well, we just had more runs.”
Williams said that the defense was the catalyst of the team against Wicomico and gave praise where it isn’t usually given.
“Haupt played great at catcher, he kept the balls in front of him and stopped them from advancing,” Williams said.
Funkstown bought some insurance in the seventh inning when Jack Schwartz connected on an RBI single. Funkstown had an opportuninty to add to its lead in the ninth with the bases loaded, but failed to score.
Wicomico added one run in the eighth inning when Andrew Dane scored on a double play.
Aaron Jones came in as the closer for Funkstown and struck out the side to end the game.
Funkstown will play Chaney Enterprises tonight at approximately 7:30, while Wicomico will play FSK at noon.
Gaithersburg 9, Cecil County 1
Peter Bowles had two hits, including a two-run double, and drove in three runs to lead Gaithersburg Post 295 past Cecil County.
Jason Williams added a two-run single for Gaithersburg.
Kyle Williams went 2-for-4 with an RBI double to score the lone run for Cecil County.
Gaithersburg will play Fort Cumberland Post 13 today at 4:30 in a winners’ bracket game, while Cecil County will play Sandy Spring in an elimination game at 9 a.m.
Fort Cumberland 7, Sandy Spring 6
Fort Cumberland opened the tournament with a come-from-behind victory over Sandy Spring Post 68.
Ben Russell led Post 13 by going 3-for-5 with three RBIs, including a two-run single in the ninth inning. Jeff Conley doubled in two runs in the fifth inning while Aaron Lehman and Ethan Landis each picked up an RBI.
Sean Whalen led Post 68 with a 3-for-5 outing and three RBIs. He hit a two-run double in Post 68’s four-run first inning.
Chaney Enterprises 11, FSK 9
Nick Huff went 2-for-4 with two RBIs for Chaney while teammate Brandon Remala went 1-for-3 and drove in two runs with a double as Chaney Enterprises defeated FSK Post 11.
Byron Campbell, Jeremy Remala, and Mike Escanilla each had an RBI for Chaney.
C.J. Winpigler led Post 11 with three hits, including a three-run homer, and Michael Omelchenko went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.