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Funkstown set to resume World Series quest

August 11, 2005|by CHRIS CARTER /Staff Correspondent

It's been more than two decades since a Funkstown American Legion team has made it this far.

By winning the Maryland championship last week, Post 211 now has a chance to do something that no other Funkstown team has ever done - advance to the World Series.

Funkstown's quest toward Rapid City, S.D. - the site of the American Legion World Series - resumes today as Post 211 opens play in the eight-team, double-elimination Mid-Atlantic regional tournament at 9:30 a.m. against Pennsylvania champion Nor-Gwyn at Campbell Field in Camden, N.J.

Funkstown (41-12) has beaten Nor-Gwyn (36-6) three times in the past two years, including a 6-3 win in May during the Montgomery-Rockville Memorial Tournament.

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"We've had some success against (Nor-Gwyn) recently, but there's no doubt they are a good team," said Funkstown coach Darryl Powell. "Any team that can make it through the Pennsylvania tournament has to be good because it's so hard to win up there."

Jay Love was the winning pitcher in the earlier meeting and is expected to start for Funkstown. Love brings a 7-2 record and 2.70 earned run average into the contest.

"Jay has pretty much been the go-to guy for us," Powell said. "He can pitch seven or eight innings without giving up a lot of runs to put us in line to win games."

Love anchors a strong pitching staff that appears well suited for making a tournament run. The arms of Josh Bowers, Craig Henson, David Richards, Nate Steelman and Andy Taylor provide Post 211 with the depth needed for the postseason.

"When you get into these kinds of tournaments and you have to play nine-inning games, pitching becomes a big factor," Powell said. "Fortunately, we have a bunch of guys that can get the job done on the mound."

To complement its solid pitching, Funkstown also has one of its better hitting teams in recent years. Four batters are hitting at least .400 and, as a team, Post 211 is hitting .355.

"We've had just about everyone on the team hit well this year," Powell said. "It seems like we've had about three or four guys with a hot bat at the same time. Then when they would cool off, another three or four guys would get hot.

"This is the first time I've had such a deep pitching and hitting team."

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