Winning the Eastern regional to qualify for the Continental Amateur Baseball Association 16-and-under World Series has become routine forthe Glen Burnie Patriots.
Yesterday, Coach Bill Nevin's Patriots were out to put the lid on their fifth consecutive CABA Eastern Regional Championship vs. a team from New Jersey. The Patriots needed one win to advance to the World Series, which they may or may not attend.
Regional action started Friday at Saw Mill Creek Park in Glen Burnie, with the Patriots humbling Baltimore's James Mosher, 16-2. Saturday, the Patriots defeated Delran of New Jersey, 7-1, to move into the final.
Winning the regional would be no surprise. After all, this is a club that moved into tournament after losing only one game in the county's 16-and-under Mickey Mantle. Ringing up a 21-1 mark in that league is impressive when you consider that many of the county's top sophomores and juniors play in it.
Going to the CABA World Series in Laredo, Texas, is another story.
"If we win the regional, I'm not sure if we can go (to World Series) because of two problems: money and coaches," Nevin said Saturday.
"The kids are going to pay $238 each for their round-trip flight, but we need another $3,000 to take care of food and other miscellaneous during what is about a 10-day stay in Laredo."
The CABA 16-and-under series runs July 25 to Aug. 3. A round robin is played during the first week, with doubleheaders played daily. After the round robin, teams are divided into two eight-team divisions according to their round-robin records.
The top eight move into the double-elimination championship round, and the bottom eight play the consolation round.
"Our other problem is that it looks like I won't have my top assistant coach, Bill Wentworth, for the World Series."
Wentworth is the North County High School principal and has been assigned to a workshop for principals by schoolSuperintendent Larry L. Lorton, which may cause a schedule conflict.
After qualifying last year, the Patriots were unable to go because of a lack of money, a setback that also kept the 1986 winner from going.
The '87 Patriots team made it to the Lone Star State and finished national runner-up, led by the pitching of Annapolis' Kevin Alarie and Joe "A-to-Z" Andrzejewski of Chesapeake High.
Alarie went on to lead Annapolis High to its first state championship the following spring and was joined on the All-County and All-Metro teams that year by Andrzejewski, who sparkled at Chesapeake. Alarie is recoveringfrom an arm injury and preparing for his third year of eligibility at UMBC.
Andrzejewski, in his third year of pro ball, is pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers' Class A team in Erie, Pa.
After turning down a full baseball scholarship to the University of Miami, Andrzejewski was drafted in the third round in the 1988 June free agent draftand signed a contract with the Brewers.
That was Nevin's best team, but this one could be right there with it. It would be a shame if the squad can't make the trip to Texas.
Recently the Patriots played in the Twitty City (country singer Conway Twitty sponsors the team) Invitational in Tennessee and went 2-3 against teams from the host state, Kentucky, Georgia and Ohio as well as St. Louis.
Nevin saysthat performance was an indication that his guys would fare very well in Laredo.
"There were some really outstanding teams in that tournament, and we very easily could have gone 4-1," he said.
"What happened was a screw-up in one inning of each game and we lost all thegames by a run. We hit the ball, and I feel like this team would do very well in the World Series."
No argument there, because this 16-and-under team boasts 12 guys who played varsity baseball this spring. In addition to their 16-and-under schedule, the Patriots played inthe County 18-and-under Legion League and their 0-11 mark in that circuit is deceiving.
First of all, they were easily the youngest team in the league -- freshmen and sophomores playing against seniors or college-aged guys. Most of the games were close, and the maturity-experience factor was the only difference.
What's really interesting is that the Patriots held their own against Legion teams while using their No. 4 and 5 hurlers, saving their top guns for the more important Mickey Mantle league games.
With a few games left on the Legion schedule, and the regional over this weekend, Nevin will run his top pitchers out there against the older guys and it might be a different story.
The Patriots' pitching staff consists of: Eddie Nalley (Glen Burnie High), Ian Taylor (Meade), Lee Haney (Old Mill), Rob Rogers (Glen Burnie), Jeff Robinson (Old Mill), Brian Sands (Arundel) and Chris Sutch (Broadneck).
All those guys play other positions, and Taylor, who got Friday's win over James Mosher, is the team's leading hitter at .455.