Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Legion playoff race heats up in final week

Tuesday, July 7, 2009by James Peters Staff Writer

Of the seven teams that comprise the American Legion baseball Montgomery Division, only four can qualify for play in next week's double-elimination tournament.

The winner of that event will be rewarded with a trip to the Maryland State American Legion baseball tournament in College Park.

That means one of the division's better squads will be left out in the cold during the hazy, hot and humid days of summer. Five teams remain in serious contention for those four coveted spots heading into the final week of regular season play.

Gaithersburg Post 295 (16-2), the defending county and state champions, look almost assured a spot, entering this week with a 14-2 division mark. Sandy Spring Post 68, in its second year of existence, finished the week at 12-5 for a solid second place.

After that, however, the race is wide open for the final two spots. Even Post 68's postseason inclusion is not a foregone conclusion, because Sandy Spring plays a rugged schedule to close out the regular season.

Post 68 was to play six games this week, including a pseudo doubleheader with Post 295 on Wednesday. The first game is a continuation of an earlier contest that Post 68 led 2-0 in the third inning.

Below those two teams are Gaithersburg Post 104 (12-7 through Sunday), Laurel Post 60 (13-8, 12-7 Montgomery Division) and Cissel Saxon Post 41 (12-6, 10-6), who are at present vying for the final two spots.

Post 104 and Post 41 were to square off Tuesday in a crucial game for both, as they split their first two meetings. Both Post 104 and Post 41 hold the tiebreaker against Post 60.

Damascus Post 171 (9-13) and Wheaton Post 268 (2-15) reside at the bottom of the standings. Both reached postseason play a year ago.

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