POTOMAC PARK — Funkstown manager Patrick Moore thought the eighth inning would never end.
Cecil County manager Scott Stenta hoped it never would.
But Funkstown reliever Brad Spickler saved the game and the day for the Washington County team, which built a big lead and held on to eliminate Cecil, 11-10, in the Maryland American Legion baseball tournament Friday at Memorial Field.
“That’s baseball,” Moore mused after his team had withstood Cecil’s eight-run eighth. “It’s not supposed to be easy. But if that’s going to be our one bad inning of the whole tournament, I’ll be all right with that.
“We’re in the championship game and in the driver’s seat. (Damascus) has to beat us twice to win it.”
Funkstown will play Damascus in today’s 10 a.m. championship game in a rematch of Thursday night’s game, which Funkstown won 4-0. Because it is a double-elimination tournament, if Damascus wins this morning’s game an additional game would follow.
Against Cecil, Funkstown led 10-2 after six innings and was up 11-2 in the top of the eighth with two outs and the bases loaded and just a hit away from winning by the 10-run rule. Cecil reliever Ben Dean, who had 11 strikeouts in a tough 1-0, ninth-inning loss to Funkstown in the tournament opener, came on and got a strikeout for the final out to keep the lead at nine.
Then things got a little crazy.
Cecil sent 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the inning and five hits, two walks and two hit batters later, it was 11-10 with the potential tying run at second. Spickler, the third reliever of the inning, threw one pitch and got an inning-ending grounder to short.
“Ryan Kinter gave us seven innings and did a good job,” said Moore. “We had some bullpen guys who needed some work and hadn’t thrown for a couple of days. They showed some rust.”
Adam Janney, Taylor Korn and John Griffiths had RBI singles, Brad Garrant drew a bases-loaded walk, a run scored on a balk and Robert Williams blasted a three-run homer to make it 11-10.
The big inning and comeback came as no surprise to Stenta, whose team erased a 7-0 deficit against Greenbelt with a 10-run inning in an 18-13 win on Thursday.
“These guys are never done. We averaged 10 runs a game all year,’’ Stenta said. “They just don’t quit.
“But we gave Funkstown too many runs early. We gave them three runs in the first inning and of their first six runs four were unearned. In the sixth inning with a man on third, we didn’t score on a grounder to deep short. That was a fatal error there.”
Funkstown scored three runs in the first inning despite hitting only one ball out of the infield. A walk, three errors, a bad-hop single and a double by Charles Cvijanovich made it 3-0 before an out was made.
Cvijanovich, Colby Johnson and Brandon Toloso went 3 for 5 and C.J. Owings was 3 for 6 for Funkstown. Cvijanovich scored four runs and had two RBIs and Johnson knocked in three. J.T. Root added two singles and two RBIs.
Griffiths led Cecil, going 4 for 5 with a double. Williams homered, drove in three runs and scored three times, Jesse Ellis doubled and Janney singled twice.
Kinter got the win, allowing four hits, one walk and striking out four in seven innings.
John Hanley went 3 for 3 and Emory McMinn had two hits and four RBIs as Damascus overpowered Talbot in a game shortened to seven innings by the 10-run rule.
Damascus jumped on Talbot and scored 10 runs with an array of hits that included four infield singles and three doubles in the early going. It was 10-1 after three innings.
Hanley had an RBI double in the first and an RBI single in the third, while McMinn hit a two-run double in the second and an RBI single in the third.
Alex Salem added a double and two singles, Michael Zerafa had a double and single and Casey Bulik a double for Damascus.
Grant Dickey went the distance, scattering seven hits and striking out five without a walk.
Damien South and Leifur Sweitzer doubled and Zack Correa had a two-run single for Talbot.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org