Mount Airy Gold Star Post 191 shortstop Tyler Beckwith called a 10-0 victory in early July against cross-county rival Frederick Post 11 the “best game we've played all season.”
Indeed, the Mount Airy American Legion baseball team's performance was dominant. Gold Star outhit FSK Post 11, 10-3; played sound defense and Matt Connelly was efficient on the mound.
Manager Kenny Keith managed to work in a sentence or two of praise before reality crept back in.
“I thought they played well. They played flawless baseball. We didn't make any errors, we pitched and we hit. That's the recipe for victory,” Keith said. “Unfortunately, we just don't do it enough. I can't get a read on these guys or a sense from these guys, at all, ever.”
Therein lies the problem for Keith and his 12-10 ballclub. There is loads of talent on the roster, with names such as Ryan Milburn — the All-Gazette Player of the Year in Frederick County — and Beckwith, Kevin Kopas and Nick Pfeifer.
With a roster as stacked as Post 191's, one would imagine Keith would have no trouble leading his team deep into the state playoffs. But the reality is that Gold Star likely will need to win the remainder of its seven games to have a shot at the postseason.
During the high school season, Milburn batted .422 with 21 RBI and eight doubles. Beckwith hit .355 and scored 31 runs. Their bats haven't carried over to summer league action. Keith and Beckwith both said the team has been plagued by metal mistakes and sloppy fielding. The pitching has been subpar.
“Everyone on the team knows that this has been a big letdown because we have so much talent. It's been frustrating,” said Beckwith, who plans to play for the University of Richmond next season. “We haven't figured out the reason why. We're hitting, but we aren't hitting with runners in scoring position or getting timely hitting.”
During a recent trip to LaSalle University in Pennsylvania, Post 191 split two games of a tournament and had the others rained out. It was yet another mixed bag tacked on to a frustrating summer.
“It's just been up-and-down. It's hard to explain sometimes,” Milburn said. “Some days we can't hit, some days we can. We've just got to find the groove.”
Keith's response to the 10-0 victory against FSK was telling. It showed just how badly he's hoping his players can turn things around and how much was expected of the talented group heading into the season.
The veteran skipper described himself as “not a very philosophical person.” Certainly, he hasn't shied away from speaking his mind in regard to his team, which has loads of potential and not much time to figure out how to harness it.
Said Beckwith: “Our goal for the season was to go to states and we know we could because of the talent we have. Once postseason starts everything changes. Every team turns on a switch. You can go in the right direction or the wrong direction. We just need to figure it out.”