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Mayo wins Legion title, awaits Cuba


What was expected happened Monday evening at Arundel High in Gambrills as Mayo Post No. 226 regained the Anne Arundel County American Legion 18 and Under League Championship.

Similarities with Mayo's 1990 team are already being made with the current edition that has its sights set next on invaders from below the border. Mayo, which won the National American Legion title in 1990, will play host to the Cuban National 18-under team at Joe Cannon Stadium Wednesday, July 28.

The 1990 juggernaut accepted every challenge that came its way, and the same can be said for the 1993 club.

Monday Mayo (47-6-1) hammered defending champion Severna Park Post 175, 9-1, to clinch the league title with a record of 18-1 and five games left on the schedule. Severna Park, with eight league losses and the only other team besides Mayo to win the local league since it began six years ago, cannot catch Mayo.

Severn Post 276 is third with nine losses after losing two games to the Greater Glen Burnie Patriots during the weekend.

"And Severn has a whole bunch of games to make-up as they seem to do every year," said Mayo coach Bernie Walter, whose club is headed for the eight-team State Legion Tournament Aug. in Frederick.

Winner of the state tournament advances to the Mid-Atlantic Regional in Boyertown, Pa., with the Nationals set for Oregon, site of Mayo's banner 1990 season. It was in 1990 that Mayo last won the state title and what followed was unprecedented for this area as Mayo went on to win the National American Legion Championship.

Mayo's attempt to defend its national crown ended in the state finals in 1991, and Severna Park dethroned Mayo as the local champion last summer only to lose in the state tournament to champion Francis Scott Key Post of Frederick.

After what happened in the spring with Arundel High (21-1) rolling to the State 4A championship and a mythical No. 1 ranking in Collegiate Baseball, Mayo's return to the top in the legion league came as no surprise.

Mayo draws its players from Arundel and Region IV runner-up, Old Mill. "I think we are loaded and should do very well," Walter predicted during the spring.

With first baseman-pitcher Tim Giles, The Baltimore Sun Metro and Anne Arundel County Player of the Year, and All-Metro pitcher Brandon Agamennone (both Arundel) leading the way, Mayo was the best locally and now gets the chance to see if it can be the best at higher levels.

It's realistic to believe Mayo can, because the team has not only talent and experience, but that extra something inside.

Example: Last Saturday, Mayo won four games in one day.

The Pasadena Saints, who lead the Connie Mack League by a game, were the first victim, and South Windsor, Conn., was the other, as Mayo won a doubleheader from each team.

In the first game with the Saints, Mayo was down, 13-5, in the bottom of the seventh and rallied for nine runs to win, 14-13. Shortstop Jeff Hedrick (Arundel) hit a two-run triple in the comeback, and outfielder/first baseman Ryan Dempsey's walk with the bases loaded won it.

Dempsey (Old Mill) had three hits as Mayo downed the Saints, 8-4, in the second game.

Next up was South Windsor. Mayo scored three in its last at bat to nip South Windsor, 8-7, behind right-hander Brian Sands (Arundel) in the first game. Giles pitched a two-hitter with 11 strikeouts to rout South Windsor, 10-1, in the fourth game of the day.

"We had played Windsor on Thursday in Salisbury, and they beat us in the first game and did a lot of talking," Walter said. " . . . As soon as we figured out that it was important to beat them, and changed our pitching around, we were ready for them Saturday."

The 1990 team played a similar schedule when more than two games a day was commonplace.

The next test comes against the Cubans in what will be their first appearance in the United States. On the way to the World Tournament in Canada, the Cubans expect to knock off Mayo, but there is something they don't know.

This Mayo team, like the Arundel High team, and the 1990 Legion team, expects to win. They've got something special inside.

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