Since beginning its American Legion Baseball program in 1973, Mount Airy’s Gold Star Post 191 has hoped it would, someday, have the opportunity to host some sort of a statewide American Legion Baseball Tournament.

The Gold Star post has held its share of invitational tournaments, drawing top-level teams from across the region. It’s entertained the idea of hosting the main Legion state tournament in the past.

Today, Mount Airy gets its first taste of hosting such an event when the Department of Maryland Junior American Legion Baseball Tournament begins at 2 p.m. today at Lindsey Browning Field.

“The post is excited about it,” Mount Airy senior Legion manager Tripp Staley said. “I think the community is excited about it too.”

Today’s opening game features St. Mary’s Post 255, the Frank Riley League (Southern Maryland) winner against Funkstown’s Dixon-Troxell Post 211 (Western Maryland District). Mount Airy, which won last year’s tournament, hosted by Funkstown, plays Severn’s Howard L. Turner Post 276 (Jim W. Cary League, Anne Arundel County).

“This is a great opportunity for people to see some high-level baseball,” Mount Airy Junior Legion manager Ryan Staley said. “You’ve got four of the top Junior Legion teams in the state playing here.”

Mount Airy earned the bid to host this year’s state tournament by winning last year’s tournament. This is the third year for the Junior Legion state tournament. Sykesville Post 223 hosted the first tournament two years ago. Funkstown won that inaugural tourney.

Mount Airy is led in hitting by center fielder Logan DeBord, shortstop Garrett Schwartzbeck and first baseman Jake Turner. John Dhima and Garrett Osbourne head up the Gold Star Post’s pitching staff.

The Junior Legion state tournament is double-elimination. Fridays winners play a winners’ bracket final at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The two losers play an elimination-round game at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

The championship game is set for 11 a.m. on Sunday.

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