Quitting Legion League Would Be Mistake For Dayton

PLAY IT AGAIN

July 21, 1991|By Rick Belz

Rumors are floating around that the Dayton American Legion baseball team is going to quit playing Legion ball and join the Baltimore Metro League next year.

But Dayton manager George Bickerton told me this week that if he has his druthers the team will return to the Legion league next year.

"But it is up to the Howard County Youth Program to decide what it wants to do since it pays most of the bills," Bickerton said.

With the new set-up -- whereby the North-Central District competes against Montgomery County on a regular basis, I think it would be a mistake to go Metro. The current arrangement is a good one and the field in Dayton is the nicest place in the county to watch a baseball game.

*

New Centennial girls varsity soccer coach Ricardo Pizarro Sr.has a soccer background unmatched in the county.

Pizarro, 63, hasplayed, coached and officiated soccer since his college days at Springfield College, Mass. He has coached at every level, from professional and international teams to high school.

He grew up in a well-to-do neighborhood in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and he is returning to a well-to-do neighborhood to coach at Centennial.

But to his credit he has made some volunteer contributions along the way to people less fortunate.

Last spring, he worked in the reading program at LexingtonTerrace Elementary School three days a week for two hours a day.

Lexington Terrace is an inner-city neighborhood in Baltimore with a lot of under-privileged children.

*

Steve Sclafani, former Atholton baseball player, had a great season at the University of Pennsylvania last spring.

Sclafani batted .309 (17 for 55) and stole nine bases in 10 attempts.

The switch-hitter started the year as a designated hitter but played the last 20 games at second base.

A weight-lifting program has added 15 pounds of muscle but hasn't slowed thespeedster down. He's now 175 pounds.

This summer he's playing forSykesville, an under-20 team that participates in a couple of leagues, including a Saturday unlimited league.

He's batting .420 (22 for 52) for Sykesville with seven doubles and two homers.

*

It's a small world. Ron Martin, the new boys varsity soccer coach at MountHebron and the boys varsity baseball coach at Centennial played on aCatonsville Community College soccer team that finished sixth in thenation his freshman year.

Can you guess what other well-known county sports figure also played on that team?

It was Don Disney, executive supervisor of health and physical education for the county.

*

The Columbia Hornets under-13 boys soccer team won the RegionalChampionship in Amherst, Mass., the second weekend of July.

Theircoach, Ron Lee, had the entire team take a six-month ballet class earlier this year and he swears it helped.

"We had only one (soccer)injury all year because we could avoid contact easier, and we won many more head balls because we could jump higher," Lee said.

I wonder how long it will be before other athletic teams start signing up for ballet lessons?

By the way, Lee flat-out predicted before the tournament that his team would win the title. Was it the ballet advantage talking?

*

Anyone who follows the Columbia Reds No.1 baseball team knows that the relationship between its coach, Larry Thompson, and some of the players and parents of players has been stormy at times this summer.

Several shouting matches during and after games looked pretty ugly.

Parents and players ought to remember one thing and then think about chilling out in the future.

Thompson is a volunteer who is trying his best. His is a time-consuming, frustratingand usually thankless job.

Calling him a racist, as one parent did, seems way out of line. And threatening to kill him, as Thompson said happened, even if the threat was said in jest, is needlessly provocative and invites turmoil among the players.

*

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, the governing body for the county's high school sports program, has taken a strong stand on videotaping games at its spring Board of Control meeting.

For the first time, MPSSAA has adopted a written policy regarding filming and videotaping, prohibiting it unless the operator has permission from the opposing coach.

Enforcement will be tough, but tournament committees have the authority to suspend schools from state tournaments for violations of this policy.

The MPSSAA stated: "Common sense is urged in regards to family members and the like who bring video cameras to games. Compliance with the policy is the responsibility of the coach, not the fans."

Before you know it, the fall season will be here. So, coaches who are used to filming opponents should take note. Coaches also are not allowed to view tapes taken for private use by parents.

*

Soccer phenom Samantha Andersch, who will be a juniorat Hammond High this fall, played in Denmark with the East Coast Regional Olympic Development team June 15-23 this summer.

The games were played near Copenhagen.

"I loved it even though it was freezing," Andersch said. "The fields were beautiful."

She visited the usual Denmark attractions, the statue of the Little Mermaid and Tivoli Gardens.

The Soccer Association of Columbia and the Maryland YouthSoccer Association each chipped in $200 toward her expenses.

Andersch is just one reason why Hammond should have a great girls soccer team this fall.

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