CUMBERLAND — The Tri-State Titans are the top seed in today’s Maryland Semi-Pro Baseball State Tournament, being held in Cumberland for the first time.
The four-team tournament features the champions of the Pen-Mar WV Baseball League, Baltimore Baseball League, Susquehanna Baseball League and Mid-Maryland Baseball League.
All games will be played at the Hammersmith Hot Stove Complex at the Allegany County Fairgrounds.
The Titans (26-2), winners of the Pen-Mar League, will play the Frederick Flying Dogs (21-8-2), the champions of the Mid-Maryland League, today in a 2 p.m. semifinal at Memorial Field.
The other 2 p.m. semifinal, at Hamilton Field, will pit the Susquehanna Assault, the Susquehanna League champion and defending state champ, against the Baltimore League champion Cancun Cantina Bulls (26-3).
The semifinal winners play for the state championship today at 5:05 p.m. at Memorial Field.
Tri-State, which beat Oakland to repeat as the Pen-Mar WV champion, won the Maryland state championship in 2009 and 2002 and was runnerup in 2010. Two players, Brian Powell and Matt Wright, played on both state championship teams and are current players for the Titans. Wright is the team manager. Powell was the MVP of the 2002 tournament.
The Titans batted .302 as a team and dominated the Pen-Mar League with pitching with a 1.29 team earned run average. Powell had six wins and an 0.94 ERA, Ellsworth seven wins with an 0.93 ERA and Foreman three wins and a league low 0.77 ERA.
Bryce Nightengale led the team with a .348 batting average and Ellsworth hit .333 with five doubles, three triples and 24 RBIs. Powell hit .301 and scored 25 runs and Wright batted .298 with 16 runs and 12 RBIs.
The Flying Dogs beat the Maryland Dirtbags in the best-of-three Mid-Maryland League series. After losing the first game, the Dogs came back with 1-0 and 2-0 wins to claim their fifth Mid-Maryland title in six years. The Mid-Maryland is a nine-team league with teams in Carroll and Frederick counties.
The Bulls are six-time defending Baltimore League regular-season champions and four-time defending league champions, and boast an all-time record of 230 wins and 45 losses. The Baltimore League has 11 teams in Baltimore County, Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County.
The Assault, of Harford County, won three of the last five state tournaments, with titles coming in 2012, 2008 and 2007. The state tournament was canceled in 2011 due to Hurricane Irene.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org