Oxon Hill won the Prince George's County baseball title each year from 1974 through 1978 (and the state championship in 1977) under Coach Donny Keys. But the Clippers have made the playoffs only once in the past eight years and Keys, in his 17th year as head coach, had begun to wonder if he would win another title.
"It has been a long time," Keys said. "We felt we had a good enough team to win the title this year, but we stumbled a bit during the year. We lost a couple of tough games, but the kids never gave up. Right now, the kids are playing very well."
Oxon Hill (16-4) will try to give Keys that elusive title tonight when it meets Arundel (20-2) for the Maryland State AA championship in the final of four games at McCurdy Field in Frederick at 7.
Great Mills will meet North East for the Class B title at 10 a.m., Boonsboro will face Easton for the C title at 1 and Chesapeake and Leonardtown will play for the A championship at 4.
Oxon Hill defeated Bowie for the Region III title and rallied to eliminate Wheaton, 7-5, in a state semifinal game.
Seniors Mike Richards -- who plays second base and is one of three pitchers Keys has depended on -- catcher Chris Payne and Ruben Sanchez, the team's leading hitter, have been the team's nucleus. Butch Jones (6-0) starts tonight.
"Butch will start, but we'll make plans to throw everyone tonight if we have to," Keys said. "Everyone has chipped in at some point; even the bottom three of the lineup has begun to hit well. If we get the hits and play good defense, we'll be fine."
Arundel played good defense, got some key hits and had a good pitching effort from Kyle Coffman in defeating Laurel, 8-1, in its semifinal game.