Cheverly rode the strong arms of several pitchers to reach this week's championship round of the Maryland State American Legion tournament, but there was little doubt who was the staff ace.
Left-hander Jimmy Terrill entered the state tournament with a 10-0 record and a miniscule earned run average of 0.47. He had more than half of Cheverly's victories as the team went 19-2.
Terrill was the key man for Cheverly all season, and the team's need of his talents were never more evident than the final game of the Riley tournament which Cheverly had to win to earn a state tournament berth.
Although he was tired after winning his third game in the double-elimination tournament the day before, Terrill was willing to lumber out to the bullpen in the seventh inning of the championship game with Cheverly clinging to a 3-2 lead over Oxon Hill.
Although pitcher Bruce Ford, was pitching well, but had told Coach Bumps Vaughan he was getting tired. Vaughan was not going to chance the outcome of the game by bringing in anything less than his best pitcher to preserve the lead.
Terrill began lobbing the ball to his warm-up catcher. "My arm was telling me, 'No.' It didn't feel good," Terrill said. "I was saying to myself, 'If I get in, I want to throw strikes and make them hit it at somebody. And not walk anybody.' "
Yet, Terrill was willing to risk whatever life he had left in his arm that day. Vaughan said Terrill told him before warming up, "I have two good innings in me, Coach." If Ford had walked the first batter of the inning, Vaughan was going to bring him in.
As it turned out, Terrill was able to rest his arm, as Cheverly won, 6-2, and Ford completed the game. But the fact that Vaughan considered bringing in Terrill is indicative of the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder's importance to Cheverly.
The win over Oxon Hill allowed Cheverly to advance to the state tournament in Easton.
Cheverly had lost to Oxon Hill in the second game of the Riley tournament, but Terrill said his team "made some costly errors, and I knew we could come back because I had a lot of innings left."
Terrill, who will be a sophomore at Lamar University this fall, won his first game against Waldorf, 2-1, pitching a four-hitter and striking out 10.
The next two games he won were in relief. One day after pitching nine innings against Waldorf, Terrill threw four innings in a 7-6 win over Mayo. The next night, he entered in the sixth inning and his team overcame a 6-3 deficit to defeat Oxon Hill, 10-7, forcing the deciding game.
Cheverly, which was 19-2 after the Riley tournament, has two other good pitchers: Jim Tiller (who will attend Lamar this fall) and Ford (Maryland). But Terrill is the one with college experience, and Vaughan thinks that is what makes him the best.
"Maturity is the only difference," said Vaughan, who coached Terrill at Bowie High School. "Whoever the coach is at Lamar did a great job with him. He's kind of the leader."
At Lamar, Terrill had to mature quickly. As a freshman, he came on in relief against Louisiana State in the NCAA regionals, pitched six innings, and won, 4-3.
The win helped Lamar reach the regional final with Texas, which Lamar lost, 8-2, after leading, 2-0. But it also kept Terrill from pitching the rest of the tournament. He injured his shoulder, and when loosening up in the next game against Houston, he said, "My hand was shaking a bit. I said, 'There ain't nothing I can do. It's dead.'"
Terrill finished the season with a 3-4 record, two saves and a 3.40 ERA. His ERA was around 4.90 before his last 18 innings.
"I got hit pretty hard early in the season," said Terrill. "But I was getting hot toward the end, and they had confidence in me. I was pitching well in relief."
This summer, Terrill has used what he has learned in college to help the team. "College experience is the only difference (between me and the other pitchers)," he said. "I learned how to pitch there. I learned not throw fast ball after fast ball. I think this being my third year on the (Legion) team, combined with being at college, would make me a leader.
"Some of the younger players need a lift sometimes . . . I try to help Bruce with the curve ball, but he's going to Maryland, so I don't want push him too much because they may want him to do it differently.
"In this league, I'm a power pitcher. I can blow the ball by some of the teams. "In college, I'm a finesse pitcher. That's what I want to be."