CUMBERLAND — The Talbot Posts 70/77 American Legion baseball team won its opener in the 2019 state tourney on Monday afternoon, 3-0, against Laurel Post 60, at the Allegany County Fairgrounds' Memorial Field.
Jack Vener pitched the first 2 1/3 innings to get the win; relievers Nick Newnam, Ashton Echternach, and Jaden Cassell (who earned the save) completed the four-hit shutout to advance to the second round of the eight-team double-elimination tournament.
Eastern Shore District North Division champ Talbot, now 3-1 in the postseason, took the lead early when Jaden Cassell walked with one out in the bottom of the first, stole second, and scored one out later on a Logan Baillif base hit.
Talbot added a run in the bottom half of the third when Newnam singled to center field with one out and scored on Echternachs fielder's choice grounder two batters later.
A Jackson Cronan RBI single in the sixth brought in Echternach and rounded out the scoring.
In the top of the seventh, Laurel threatened with a leadoff walk, followed by a base hit. Cassell got a ground out and then a strikeout, finishing the game by picking a runner off second with a quick flip to shortstop Trent Weems, ending the game.
Tristan Cassell had two hits, while Echternach finished with a double and single; Aubrey Perry and Jeremy Patchett added singles as Talbot outhit Laurel 7 to 4.
Talbot pitchers struck out seven batters in the win — Newnam notching three, Vener two, and Echternach and Jaden Cassell one apiece.
Talbot plays at 7 p.m. tonight in the second round against the winner of Monday night's game between Funkstown Post 211 and tournament host Cumberland Post 143.
The outcome of the Funkstown-Cumberland game, slated for 7 p.m., was not known at press time, as the game before it, between Garrett Post 71/214 and Severna Park Post 175 went 13 innings, postponing the contest by more than two hours. Garrett eventually won, 6-3.