J.D. Lubenetski is scheduled to have rotator cuff surgery on his right arm this fall, so his baseball career could end once his Gaithersburg Post 295 team is eliminated from the Maryland American Legion tournament. In tonight's semifinal, the recent Quince Orchard graduate did his best to make sure he would play at least one more day.
Lubenetski hit two home runs to help lead Gaithersburg to a 19-8 victory over Frederick Post 21, the host team for the tournament being played at McCurdy Field. Gaithersburg must defeat unbeaten Mount Airy twice Tuesday in order to win the tournament, with the first game scheduled for 4 p.m. and, if necessary, a second game at 7.
Gaithersburg will try to become the first Montgomery County team to win the state title since 1952.
"Every time we put on our cleats we look at each other and we're like, `This could be the last time we play,' " said Lubenetski, who will attend James Madison in the fall on an academic scholarship. He said he plans to walk on with the Dukes, but the coaches at the Harrisonburg school were interested in him as a pitcher. The surgery could end those hopes. "I just don't want it to end," he said. "It's kind of never say die here."
Lubenetski also had added motivation. He said Frederick High, which supplies six players to the Post 11 team, eliminated Quince Orchard each of the past two years in the Maryland state playoffs. Frederick also won the American Legion state title last year.
Tonight, the No. 3 through No. 6 hitters in Gaithersburg's order were a combined 15 for 23 with 11 runs scored and 12 RBI.
Gaithersburg 533 042 002 -- 19 19 3
Frederick 050 200 100 -- 8 14 6
Fisher, Thibeault (6) and Haeder. Doyle, Hillis (2), Putman (5) and Tsikerdanos, Haines (7).