Funkstown advances to states

July 26, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

FUNKSTOWN - Funkstown Post 211 laid down the gauntlet on Monday.

If you can't stand the heat, stay away from the pitchin'.

The game was "Taylor" made.

Post 211 played the American Legion West Region championship game on their terms. It threw hard, hit well and weathered the weather as it used strong starting pitching by Andy Taylor to make an early lead stand up for a 6-0 victory over Mt. Airy at Funkstown Memorial Park.

Taylor mastered the humid conditions and applied extra heat on Mt. Airy for 5 2/3 innings until running out of gas to send Funkstown to a noon matchup on Friday with Montgomery County's champion in the state tournament at Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Md.


"The heat doesn't matter to me," Taylor said. "It can be hot or cold. I don't mind. I just want to get up and throw."

Taylor's hard and heavy fastball seemed to have more snap to it in the heated air. He picked up three strikeouts in the first to set the tone for Funkstown. Post 211 scored two runs on four consecutive singles to make it all the harder for Mt. Airy.

"Getting that early lead was important," said Funkstown coach Darryl Powell. "When it's humid like this out there and you get that lead, it knocks the other team down because they are spending so much energy to get back into the game.

"Andy battles out there and throws a lot of pitches. We have been trying to cut him off at 100-110 pitches, but he had 113 today. The big key was the way Nate Steelman came in and backed him up. He has come in and given us some good outings."

Taylor found himself in the middle of heated situations in each of the six innings he worked. But his hard pitches, combined with Post 211's defense, was equal to the task.

"Getting the outs quick allowed me to get off the field and into the cool dugout where I could rest," Taylor said. "And then when we started hitting and scoring runs, it made the innings longer so I could get more rest."

Funkstown gave Taylor all the support he needed in the first as Tyler Beard and Josh Bowers hit one-out singles and scored on hits by Jay Love and David Warrenfeltz to get the early lead.

Tim Kellinger bolstered the lead with a leadoff home run in the second off Mt. Airy starter Scott Smith.

The rest was up to Taylor until he reached two outs in the sixth.

"I figured I would go that far," Taylor said. "My arm was starting to hurt a little, so I knew it was time to come out. I've been throwing hard this year. I've been working hard to get (the velocity) up ... and the heat helps make the pitches harder."

Taylor left after 5 2/3 innings of six-hit pitching, while walking five and striking out seven. Steelman put the finishing touches on the win in the final 2 1/3 innings, allowing two hits, three walks and three strikeouts.

Funkstown put the game out of reach as Phillip Powell led off the sixth with a home run to left. Post 211 closed the scoring in the eighth on Drew Crawford's two-run single to left.

Beard had three hits for Funkstown, while Warrenfeltz, Powell and Kellinger had two hits and an RBI each.

"I've got a team that can score a lot of runs," Darryl Powell said. "We started hitting the heck out of the ball (Sunday) at Mt. Airy. Now is the time for the guys to step up and the did all the little things we needed to do to win."

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