Fresh off its first Maryland State American Legion state title in 21 years, the Severna Park Post 175 baseball team headed south Tuesday in preparation for the Mid-Atlantic Region 2 tournament to be held at Fireman’s Field in Purcellville, Virginia.
Post 175, which blanked Cecil County American Legion, 5-0, in the state final Saturday in Salisbury, will face host Leesburg (Va.) Post 34 Wednesday at 6 p.m. The rest of the double-elimination field consists of Broad Street Park (N.J.) Post 313, Rockland (N.Y.) Post 130, Souderton (Pa.) Post 234, Spring City (Pa.) Post 602, Vienna (Va.) Post 180 and Wilmington (Del.) Post 1.
“The kids are pretty confident, but the problem is we might be losing some kids with high school sports starting this weekend,” said Post 175 manager Bob Hallet, whose squad has compiled a 22-5 mark this summer. “We might be missing four or five kids, but we have a good nucleus, a strong nucleus. Of course, the kids are confident. We’re going to play some pretty good teams, but we’re pretty good, too.”
Leading the way for the Spartans will be offensive stalwarts Jake Hallet, Cam Clark, Luke Guy and Scott Huntley, who was named the state tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Clark earned most outstanding hitter honors in Salisbury. Those four have consistently hit over the .400 mark for the season, said manager Hallet, whose squad will be guided on the mound by ace Clark, John Iaquinta and closer Jack Triolo and behind the plate by Ryan Key.
“We’re good in the spots you have to be good,” Hallet said. “Defensively, we’re pretty good. It comes down to pitching. Key is my catcher and catcher is the most important position. He calls the pitches and guns everyone out. Catchers have a special place in my heart.”
The Spartans last won a state crown in 1997, besting Damascus Post 171, 9-1, in the final. That squad was led by future MLB All-Star Mark Teixeira, who was named the best offensive player of the tournament as hit batted .632 with 11 runs batted in, including going 4-for-4 in the final. Teixeira went on to hit 409 home runs and knock in 1,298 runs during a 14-year career.