Mason-Dixon Rebels win state championship

Aug. 14—CUMBERLAND, Md. — The Mason-Dixon Rebels won the Maryland Semi-Pro Baseball State Championship, defeating the Oakland Oaks 1-0 on Saturday at the Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland.

"It was a big team win," Mason-Dixon manager Bryan Knouse said. "Everybody contributed in some way, shape or form. I couldn't be prouder of the guys and the way everybody played."

The third-seeded Rebels were led by Justin Gladwell. The right-handed starter pitched a complete-game shutout. He allowed four hits and struck out eight batters. Oakland also intentionally walked a batter in the ninth.

The only run of the game came in the fifth inning. Sam Wertz and Jon Lugo began the inning with back-to-back hits. Taylor Eisentraut was walked to load the bases with one out. Nick Michaelides grounded into a fielder's choice that scored the runner from third.

The Oaks had a chance to take the lead in the eighth. After Cory Ashby got on first with a infield single, the Rebels intentionally walked Quintin Smith. With two on and one out, Chris Green grounded out to third base. Darren Pass from Mason-Dixon fielded the ball and threw from his knees to first in time for the second out.

"It was the play of the game," Knouse said. "As far as I'm concerned that saved the game for us. If he doesn't make that play, who knows what happens in the eighth. They're gonna end up with bases loaded and one out and it's a completely different baseball game."

Oakland's starter Jake Sparen went eight innings and allowed three hits and one run. He struck out seven and walked three batters. Green took over in the ninth after moving from shortstop. He allowed one hit and a walk.

"We just didn't hit, neither team did," Oakland manager Craig Bosley said. "They put a couple back-to-back and ended up scoring a run. We didn't give our pitcher support, he pitched a heck of a game. It was just a well-played game. It's always tough to take a loss but it's the way this happens."

The Oaks combined for four hits. Hunter Cottrell led Oakland with two hits while Ashby and Lane Oars each had one.

Justin Keith, Wertz and Lugo each had one hit for Mason-Dixon. Keith also drew a walk.

"His pitch count was down," Bosley said on Gladwell. "He threw it in the strike zone a lot and was able to get us to either beat it in the ground or pop it up. We never got anything soft, we hit a couple solid balls but they were just long outs. There wasn't much of that but it's the way baseball goes."

The two teams qualified for the championship by winning their semifinal game held earlier that day. Oakland defeated the fourth-seeded Tri-County Twins 5-3. Mason-Dixon beat the second-seeded Cumberland Orioles 11-8.

"The last couple of years the team's really grown," Knouse said. "We sort of turned into one big family. The last eight seasons has been a labor of love to get to this point. We want to keep it moving and hopefully add a couple more trophies to the trophy case."

Jordan Kendall is a Sports Writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @JKendallCTN.