Amassing a 66-7 record while playing in three leagues wasn't accomplishment enough. Neither, apparently, was a record third consecutive Maryland state title or an Eastern regional championship.
So, accolades in hand, the 19-and-under American Legion baseball team representing Post 226 in the tiny village of Mayo, Md., journeyed to Corvallis, Ore. And Sunday it vanquished its counterparts from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, 7-6, to win the first national championship by a Maryland Legion team since Cumberland in 1934.
"I'm elated," team chairman Walt Loveless said yesterday before welcoming his team back at an afternoon rally at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. "I was grateful that we won the state three years in a row. To come out as national champs is just unbelievable."
Mayo is located on the outskirts of Annapolis. Most of its players come from Old Mill and Annapolis high schools. The team played in the Eddie Brooks 20-and-under and Connie Mack leagues this season, in addition to Legion ball, where it won the inaugural Anne Arundel County League title. In previous years Mayo has taken part in -- and dominated -- the Legion's Southern Maryland Division.
The team is led by pitcher-outfielder Mark Foster, a 1989 Old Mill graduate now on full scholarship at the University of Richmond.
Foster pitched a complete game in the championship game against Puerto Rico, and had two hits and three runs batted in. He was recipient of the George Rulon trophy, awarded annually to the American Legion player of the year.
Foster said the team wasn't sure about its chances until after the tournament started. "The first game, we played Hawaii and we knew they'd be good," he said. "We beat them and we played very well. After that, we thought we could play with anybody."
But Foster said the pressure of pitching the last game was enormous. "I decided to try not to think about it," he said. "But ESPN was there and there were five cameras. I'm glad it wasn't live."
ESPN will televise the game Wednesday at 1 p.m.
Foster has been a mainstay for Mayo all season, leading the team in RBI and stolen bases.
And "he's without a doubt the best left-hander in Maryland," said Coach Will Trinidad, from Crownsville. "He pitches all our difficult games for us."
Remarkably, Mayo won the title without the services of its coach, Bernie Walter.
Walter, head of the U.S. Junior Olympic baseball program, turned over the Mayo helm to Trinidad in July and headed for Minneapolis, where he scouted at the U.S. Olympic Festival and began to assemble a national team. Walter and his team are in Havana getting ready for next month's junior world tournament.
Trinidad and assistants Tut O'Hara and Bob Young coached Mayo during Walter's absence.
Mayo had several imposing opponents to hurdle on the road to Oregon. After winning the state title in Hagerstown several weeks ago, Mayo subdued a Delaware squad, 11-3, to win the regional in Lynchburg, Va.
After edging Hawaii, 5-4, in the double-elimination tournament opener, Mayo lost its only game out West: 9-3 to Bayamon. It recovered and swept the remaining four games: 8-4 over Michigan, 10-6 over Texarkana, Ark., 16-4 over Hawaii and 7-6 over Bayamon.
Special correspondent Jim Brady contributed to this report.