BALTIMORE WINS AAA

Youse’s Maryland Orioles of Baltimore closed out the 63rd AAABA Tournament with a 6-0 shutout over Washington in the championship game Sunday at Point Stadium.

The Orioles’ fifth straight title, and their 25th overall, was keyed by pitcher Josh Squatrito, a closer for Baltimore during the regular season.

Squatrito recorded nine strikeouts with two walks in the complete-game two-hitter.

“It means a lot to win five in a row,” Baltimore manager Dean Albany said. “Walter Youse won five in row, from ’78 to ’83. I was on two of those teams. Squatrito has been our closer all year and we thought we’d see how long he could go. He throws strikes, gets ahead and moves it around a little bit. Coming into the game, he had 54 strikeouts and only three walks all year as our closer.”

Squatrito, who got the save in last year’s title tilt, waited all week to get his chance.

“I hadn’t pitched all week, we just didn’t have the situation for it,” the right-hander said. “I start in school, but I hadn’t thrown nine innings. This is probably the first time I’ve thrown nine innings in almost a year.

“I knew what to expect. I pitched in the championship last year and in states in high school. I’ve pitched in a lot of big games. I’m kind of used to it. I just love it. I thrive off of it.”

Squatrito said his split-fingered fastball was his most effective pitch.

“I stuck with that and a fastball combination, and threw maybe three sliders all day,” Squatrito said. “One of them was one of the two hits. I tried to keep it inside all day. I’ve always had tremendous control, always. It’s something that you need to have. If I’m 0-2, I don’t believe in throwing a ball on purpose. I just like to attack the strike zone.”

Baltimore, which recorded its only loss of the tournament, 6-5, to Washington on Tuesday, got the only run it needed in the second.

Wink Nolan doubled, then scored on back-to-back singles by Steven Bumbry and Chris Henderson.

The Orioles added a pair of runs in the fourth on singles by Nolan and Bumbry and a pair of Washington errors.

Three more runs in the seventh sealed the victory for Baltimore. Kyle Davis led off with a double and scored on an L.J. Hoes single.

Hoes went to second on a throw to the plate.

An Alex Buchholz single and another Washington error plated Hoes and Buchholz.

The McLean Raiders, whose hits were by Kevin Watkins and Ty Boyles, had just one runner get to third. Jason Kitchen walked in the sixth and the Watkins single on a hit-and-run moved him to third where he was stranded when Watkins tried to stretch the single to a double.

“Any time the scoreboard has a larger number in the ‘E’ column than it does in the ‘H’ column, you’re in trouble,” Washington manager Tim Brown said. “A day off certainly did not hurt them. To have to beat them three times in a tournament would have been tough. They have a great club. We were undermanned, but these 13 guys have amazing character and heart.”

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