John Carroll's JV baseball team won the county title last year, but the move up to varsity has been a difficult step for the Patriots.
Going into Friday's game at Aberdeen, the Patriots were winless in two outings. They dropped a 12-5 decision to C. Milton Wright on Wednesday. Before spring break, the Patriots fell, 15-3, to North Harford.
The Patriots fared much better against Aberdeen, whomping the Eagles, 16-4, and improving their record to 2-1. Patriots pitcher Rob Rossi had five strikeouts and hit three doubles, driving in six RBIs inthe game.
Second-year coach Al Ward expected that the Patriots might have a rough time early on after losing eight starters from last year's 10-5-1 squad. Unlike the John Carroll lacrosse team which plays in the MSA, the Patriots' baseball team competes in the Harford County league.
So far, the major problem is pitching.
"We hurt ourselves," said Ward, whose hurlers have walked 23 batters in the firsttwo games.
Ward, who has coached at John Carroll for 14 years, used four pitchers against C. Milton Wright. Senior Bill Reese and juniors Caleb Brown, Jake Hollin and Marty Kuser combined to walk 11 and give up 10 hits.
However, the Patriots proved that they can hit. They knocked 11 base hits against the Mustangs. Brown went 3-for-4 with an RBI and three stolen bases. Sophomore David Ishmael was 2-for-3.
Against North Harford, the Patriots also hit the ball well. Reese, the only returning starter, was 2-for-2 with two RBI.
The Patriots got off to a good start against North Harford with a 3-3 first-inning score.
"Then we just fell apart," said Ward. "In the last inning, we couldn't get anyone out. They got seven runs in the last inning, so it was a pretty close game until them. It's the walks that killus."
While Ward seeks the right pitcher, he's also juggling the rest of the lineup. Reese, who batted almost .500 last year, plays shortstop when he's not pitching. Two other returning seniors, first baseman Greg Mainolfi and left fielder Tim Wills, have spots sewn up.
Junior Hollin or sophomore Paul Sabella will catch. The rest of the infield spots are up for grabs among juniors Kuser, Rossi, Kevin Hook, Brian Schiller and Marty Sidhu and sophomores Ishmael and Geoff Pickett.
Two seniors, returnee Tom Linz and newcomer Bill Gast, are competing with three juniors, Brown, Greg Webster and Gary Zamerski for outfield spots.