Jeanie Fischer doesn't miss many of her son Jerry's baseball games. On a good day, she can get from work to wherever Jerry and his Southern (Baltimore) High teammates are playing in time to see him warm up and still have time to stop at the market and pick up a bushel of bananas.
The bananas are for Jerry Fischer. When the sensational right-handed pitcher from Southern isn't blowing his fastball by opponents, he's usually wolfing down a banana.
Jerry Fischer is not only the area's hottest pitching prospect, but he is also a diabetic. He eats bananas between innings to keep his strength up.
"I've been diabetic since I was 11," said Fischer. "The only problem I worry about is going blind [a complication of diabetes]. Your blood sugar should be between 80 and 120, but mine runs like 180 to 240, which isn't bad because I was supposed to be in a diabetic coma when it was first diagnosed. It's kind of scary, but I've got the hang of it."
Fischer's father, Jerry Sr., also attends most of Southern's games and sometimes serves as the DBH (designated banana holder).
"He's on insulin every day," said Jeanie Fischer. "As long as he keeps enough sugar, he's OK. When he plays a lot, the insulin eats up the sugar. We have to keep a balance, but it's under control. He's doing fine."
Fischer is also doing fine on the mound. So far this season, he has a 6-1 record, including no-hitters against Annapolis and St. Paul's. He also has thrown one two-hitter, two three-hitters and two four-hitters. In 47 innings, he has struck out 92 and walked nine.
Scouts have said that they haveseen no one in the area who compares to him. "There are a couple of kids in Virginia that might compare, but there isn't anyone else in Maryland. He has a good fastball, a live arm and has good rotation on his curveball. He doesn't have the velocity on his curveball, but he has a lot going for him."
With Fischer leading the way, Southern (9-3, 8-2) is on top of the Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference's Division I. The Bulldogs are favored to reach the championship series for the second straight season.
Southern coach Bill Parker likes to talk about Fischer's last 10 starts, which include the last three games of the 1990 season. During that time, Fischer is 9-1. In 68 innings, he has allowed four earned runs (0.41 ERA), 21 hits, 19 walks and has struck out 131.
"I've never had anybody throw as hard as he does," said Parker, who has coached high school baseball since 1971. "When he's (( got his curveball to go with his fastball, he's virtually unhittable in this league."
In the game against Mervo Thursday, Fischer was disappointed when the game ended after five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule (Southern led, 10-0). He already had struck out 15 and was hoping to top his record of 17, which he set during his freshman season.
"I'm not bragging or anything, but every time I go out there, I'm capable of throwing a no-hitter or shutout, and that's what I want to do," he said. "I know what I can do."
Fischer dominates the opposition with a fastball that has been clocked as high as 91 mph, but the 6-foot-3, 180-pounder is not just a hard thrower who relies on overpowering opponents.
"He's a competitor," said Parker. "He has a lot of poise and has learned a lot about pitching."
Fischer is hoping to get drafted this spring and sign a minor-league contract.
"I don't know how high he will get drafted," said Parker, "but the guys from Essex and Anne Arundel [community colleges] are interested, but I don't think he's interested in going to school. He wants to get on with life, sign a [minor-league] contract and get going."
Baseball top 10
1. Perry Hall (14-1) 47
(tie) Northeast (19-0) 47
3. Calvert Hall (22-7) 34
4. Mount St. Joseph (18-3) 31
5. Arundel (16-4) 28
(tie) Curley (15-4) 28
7. C.M. Wright (16-2) 18
8. Overlea (14-2) 12
9. Severna Park (13-5) 11
10. Old Mill (13-5) 7
Records are through Sunday.
Other teams receiving votes, with records and points in parentheses: South Carroll (12-4, 6), Southern-Baltimore (9-3, 3), Hammond (15-4, 2), Patterson (11-4, 1)
The members of The Sun's board of coaches for the 1991 season are: Terry Coleman (Glenelg), Dave Norton (Mount St. Joseph), Bernie Walter (Arundel), Roger Wrenn (Patterson) and Dave Wright (Towson).
Softball top 10
1. Archbishop Spalding (16-1) 46
2. Glen Burnie (15-3) 43
3. Chesapeake-AA (16-3) 40
4. Northeast (15-3) 35
5. Severna Park (14-4) 33
6. North County (13-6) 25
7. Old Mill (13-6) 24
8. North Carroll (15-4) 15
9. Centennial (13-5) 8
10. Liberty (14-4) 3
Records are through Sunday.
Other teams receiving votes, with records and points in parentheses: Glenelg (14-5, 2), Dulaney (12-1, 1), IND (11-5, 1)
The members of The Sun's board of coaches for the 1991 season are: Jerry Hahn (IND), Dale Huting (Centennial), Diane Lawton (Western), Jill Masterman (Randallstown) and Lynn Pitonzo (Northeast-AA).
Southern pitcher Jerry Fischer has struck out 92 in 47 innings. Here are some of his best strikeout performances this season:
St. Paul's 15