Early spring high school baseball games can be tricky for pitchers. They are reluctant to throw their best fastball when it's cold and their arm might not be loose.
Gilman's Keith Kormanik knows the feeling.
The Greyhounds' senior scattered four hits, struck out five and walked five in Tuesday's 5-2 victory over McDonogh. Although he threw only 93 pitches in seven innings, he had to keep his
arm warmed up between innings with an extra 10-to-20 tosses.
"It is difficult to stay loose in this kind of weather," said Kormanik, who has signed with Boston College on a football scholarship next fall. "I think I let up a little bit, but that triple [by McDonogh's Scott Caparossi] woke me up. I realized McDonogh wasn't going to quit. It got me thinking and I was able to finish up."
Kormanik showed similar tenacity last fall, frequently making the clutch catch, the key tackle or the important runback to help the Greyhounds to a 7-2 record and earn himself a place on the All-Metro first team as a defensive back.
He helped his own cause Tuesday with two singles and, twice, he showed his speed, scoring from second on a pair of two-run ground-ball singles by teammate Jamal Cox. He also made a diving catch on a foul pop that helped get him out of a jam.
"Keith is a throwback to the multi-sport athlete," said coach Marty Meloy. "He has the ability and experience to be able to raise his game to the level that it takes to win.
"I thought he threw pretty well, considering the conditions. I would have liked him to throw more curveballs -- he only threw 18 curves among his 93 pitches -- but he changed speeds well and was able to keep from really having to throw hard. That's important at this time of year when it's still chilly. As soon as the weather breaks, it will help everyone's arm."
Meloy knows Kormanik's arm well. The lefthander has been an integral part of Meloy's summer success with the Putty Hill Optimist program, where he'll play again this summer.
"I'm really excited about going to BC," Kormanik said. "[New York] Giants coach Tom Coughlin was named head coach. He was the receivers coach [for the NFL club] and I think they'll be looking at me as a safety or as a receiver."
Kormanik received interest from Southern Methodist and visited Wake Forest during the recruiting process. Several college baseball coaches also were interested.
"I really didn't want to wait on an offer to play baseball," said Kormanik. "If you let everything hinge on your senior season, what do you do if there is no offer? I made the verbal commitment to Boston College early. I love playing both sports."
Kormanik is 2-0 with a save thus far. One of his opponents in the MSA B Conference is Southern's Jerry Fischer, who threw a no-hitter in his first outing of the season, beating Annapolis on Monday. Gilman edged Southern in a best-of-three series for the Conference championship last spring. With Fischer, Southern figures to be in contention for the title again this spring.
"Fischer's a pro prospect," said Meloy. "He throws hard enough. All he really needs is a little polish and the scouts will be after him."
Chances are good that Kormanik and Fischer will face each other when Southern visits Gilman on April 23. Maybe the weather will be warm by then.