CUMBERLAND — Many of Maryland’s top American Legion baseball players and teams are heading to town, and one team will be crowned state champion at the end of the week.
The American Legion Baseball State Tournament is being played in Cumberland for the first time, with the eight-team tournament kicking off at Memorial Field on Tuesday. Memorial Field is the newest of the fields at the Hammersmith Hot Stove Complex at the Allegany County Fairgrounds.
Both Mountain District teams — Fort Cumberland Post 13 (14-10), coached by Kenny Johnson, and Grantsville Post 214 (12-15), coached by Phil Carr, are in the field.
Although the remainder of the teams in the tournament will not be known until a number of Sunday district games are played across the Old Line State, four state games will be played Tuesday and Wednesday at Memorial Field. The tournament continues Thursday and Friday and concludes with the championship game on Saturday.
The state champion earns a berth in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament. The regional champion heads to the National Tournament in Shelby, N.C., Aug. 16-20.
Sandy Spring Post 68 of Montgomery County is the defending Maryland state champion, having beaten Wicomico Post 64 8-0 in last year’s state final at McCurdy Field in Frederick.
American Legion baseball was founded in 1925. Fort Cumberland Post 13 has a strong baseball tradition and remains one of only three Maryland teams to have won an American Legion national championship — beating New Orleans in the 1934 title game in Chicago. The only other Maryland teams to have won national titles were Mayo Post 226 of Anne Arundel County in 1990, and Baltimore Post 81 in 1930.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org