At the start of the season, Old Mill's baseball team was ranked No. 1 by The Sun and No. 19 nationally by USA Today, and was being compared to the Patriots' 1989 state championship team.
But at the halfway point, the team is 7-4 overall, 5-3 in Anne Arundel County's 4A League and has dropped out of USA Today's poll and to No. 10 in The Sun's poll.
However, Old Mill coach Mel Montgomery isn't panicking.
"First of all, I think that the ranking in USA Today was based on previous performances," said Montgomery. "In 1989, we had a super team [state 4A champion], one of the best ever from Maryland. We had a good ballclub last year [state semifinalist]. But we had some pretty important holes to fill this year, and I think we're still coming around and still have some adjustments to make."
Old Mill has six sophomores, its most ever, but struggling veterans are a big problem and "pitching is the biggest problem," said Montgomery. "We're not getting people out. We're winning the first two games in a week but losing the third."
Among the Patriots who have played well are left-handed pitchers Jimmy Simms and Lee Haney, both 3-0, shortstop Eric Scott (.500, 12 RBI), catcher John Bussey (.463, nine RBI) and designated hitter Mike Mahoney (.371, 13 RBI).
While Old Mill is trying to find reasons for its slow start, it's clear that Gilman's outstanding start (9-1 overall) has been led by the play of Keith Kormanik.
Gilman makes its first appearance in The Sun's top 10 this week at No. 7.
Kormanik, a senior left-hander, is 4-0 with an 0.56 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 25 innings. He is batting .724 (21-for-29) with 18 RBI.
Last week in three victories, Kormanik was 8-for-11 with three triples, a double and eight RBI. Friday he pitched a one-hitter, as Gilman beat Patterson, 5-0, in a matchup of Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference Division II contenders.
Today, the Greyhounds play host to Southern in a rematch of last year's championship series and a battle of division leaders. Gilman leads Division II with a 5-0 record, and Southern leads Division I with a 4-0 mark.
Although the teams are in different divisions, today's game will count in the division standings. Southern will go with senior right-hander Jerry Fischer, one of the league's top pitchers. He is 3-0, including a no-hitter against Annapolis. Gilman coach Marty Meloy had not decided yesterday whether he would go with Kormanik.
Northeast's 4-3 softball loss to Glen Burnie in 16 innings last week, which ended its 64-game win streak, could be even more costly. Pitcher Kristy Zulka -- The Sun's 1990 Player of the Year -- reinjured her right knee being doubled off third base in the 11th inning and may be lost for the season.
Examinations by two physicians have been inconclusive, but the injury could be a re-tear of the anterior cruciate ligament. That would end Zulka's high school career. She has had major surgery on both knees.
Two former Anne Arundel County basketball standouts have signed national letters of intent. Corey Wallace (Meade), an All-Metro first-team selection in 1989 who has spent the past two years at Allegany Community College, signed with Clemson. . . . Ted Cottrell (Annapolis), an All-Metro first-team selection in 1990 and now a student at Maine Central Institute (Pittsfield), signed with the University of Massachusetts. Wallace is a 6-foot-5 guard/forward, and Cottrell is a 6-10 center.
Records, streaks, milestones: Not all of the streaks ended in Anne Arundel County last week. Severna Park's tennis team defeated Northeast, 9-0, Saturday for its 60th straight victory since losing at Old Mill, 7-2, on May 7, 1986. . . . North County pulled off a rarity Wednesday with baseball-softball no-hitters at the expense of visiting Southern-AA. Karen Hay pitched her 13th career no-hitter to defeat the Bulldogs, 28-0, and Wayne Clark had the new school's first baseball no-hitter, 6-0.
Overtime: Mount St. Joseph grad Mike Brennan of the Cincinnati Bengals will be the guest speaker at the school's Hall of Fame dinner tomorrow beginning at 6:30 p.m. For ticket information, call the school's development office at at 646-4700. . . . The Maryland Scholastic Association held elections last week and picked two new officers -- Mark Schlenoff (first vice president) and Pieter DeSmit (treasurer). Vince Bagli (president), Fred Hewitt (second vice president) and Hy Zolet (secretary) retained their positions through 1993. . . . There are discussions being held about an all-star track and field meet this spring between the MSA and Baltimore County. Stay tuned.