Since there is so much going on in high school sports around the county, I thought I would go for the cycle (single, double, triple and home run) and touch all the bases today.
And let's make the first pitch my favorite sport, baseball -- the greatest game in the world.
No matter what happened yesterday at Meade High, where the Mustangs were scheduled to play host to Broadneck in a crucial Class 4A Region IV contest -- with the loser being eliminated -- you have to tip your cap to the job Coach Elliott Harvey has done with the Meade team.
Going into the final days of the regular season, Harvey had the Mustangs controlling their own destiny in their bid for the school's first-ever postseason baseball appearance. The 'Stangs had to win yesterday and again today at Severna Park.
With a host of seniors, led by pitcher-hitter Lance Taylor, Meade completely turned around a 4-14 program and was 10-6 going into yesterday's game against Broadneck.
According to Taylor, Harvey has brought the Meade players together.
"Coach Harvey has done a great job this year, because he has ateam of guys who have been willing to work hard and who want to win," said Taylor, the team's pitching ace and one of its big hitters.
"In the past couple years, we had some internal problems because of a couple guys who only cared about themselves. This team is together,and Coach Harvey knows the game and is a better coach than people realize."
Until this season, Harvey never had a winning record in six seasons as head coach. Harvey entered the year with a career mark of 30-75-3, with his best season coming in 1989, when Meadewent 6-9-1.
Harvey inherited the Mustangs' legacy of never winning in baseball and has traveled a long, hard road. But he's finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
"Coach Harvey has always done the right things, but until this year, he's never had a team like this," said Taylor.
This 1991 edition has made school history and pulled theprogram out of the doldrums -- hopefully, to stay.
One thing thathelped Meade was the pitching violation committed by Arundel High and its veteran coach, Bernie Walter. Meade was given a win via forfeitafter losing to the Wildcats, 6-5, in eight innings last Friday night.
Walter and his Cats became a victim of the very rule he wrote when left-hander Zach Collins pitched the eighth and final inning against Meade, putting him one inning over the limit of 14 for a seven-day period.
Collins had pitched into the seventh inning of a Saturday, April 27, loss to Northeast,14-4. That meant he could only pitch seven innings the rest of the week through Friday night.
He went all eight innings against Meade in a game that started at 7 p.m., and those 15 innings constituted a pitching rules violation.
Had Walterstarted the game at 10 p.m. and gone past midnight, Collins would have been OK.
"How bad do you think I felt when I found out Monday that we had broken the rule? I wrote the rule," said Walter, who is very active in the Maryland State Baseball Coaches Association and was the one who did, in fact, write the rule after state-wide input and approval.
"Paul Rusko (county coordinator of physical education andathletics) told me Monday we had to forfeit, and I had to tell the kids. It wasn't easy. The rule never crossed my mind.
"I just plainscrewed up."
Walter made sure it didn't happen Wednesday night inhis Wildcats' important 7-2 victory over Old Mill by pulling Collinsafter the sixth inning and bringing in senior Larry Dobson.
With Collins having gone eight innings on Friday night in the forfeit, he only was allowed to pitch six more before the start of a new week.
"It's a good rule, because it protects a kid's arm. Coaches can no longer pitch somebody three games within a week because the rule allows for two full games," said Walter.
I guarantee you, it will neverhappen again at Arundel.
With that win over Old Mill Wednesday night under the lights at Arundel -- in front of what Walter called "a tremendous crowd; a lot of old friends there" -- the Wildcats can sewup the top seed in 4A Region IV with a win at Broadneck today.
That means home-field advantage beginning Friday, May 17, in the semifinals.
With Old Mill's ace lefty Doug Stockman (3-4) struggling most of the season after going 14-2 in his first two years of varsity baseball, the work of fellow senior lefty Jimmy Simms had gone somewhatunnoticed.
Simms has quietly been the Patriots' stopper, going 6-0. His contribution has been immense, along with that of sophomore Lee Haney, who has won four games.
The pitching of Simms and Haney has allowed Old Mill to retain its status as a perennial contender in 4A Region IV.
Another underclassman who has made gigantic contributions is Broadneck junior Jeff Vincent. Vincent has won four games onthe mound for the Bruins, while batting close to .400 and picking upthe slack for senior ace Johnny Williams.