Baltimore Orioles scouting supervisor Jim Gilbert asked, "What otherall-star game turns out this kind of talent?"
Gilbert was referring to the Anne Arundel County Sun-Oriolelanders All Star Baseball Game, which has produced nearly 80 players who have signed with or been drafted by major league clubs.
And the veteran scout's reference to the quality of player chosenfor this game comes from a man who travels the Mid-Atlantic area andsometimes beyond to watch such games.
The 12th annual game is to be played 1:30 p.m. today at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans and will be followed by the Chesapeake 30 and Over Men's Senior League all-stargame at 5 p.m.
Gilbert assembles a team of the top high school players he can find in the Mid-Atlantic area from his Oriole summer tryout camps and brings them here to play the best we can put out there.
The local team called the Arundel Suns consists of the top high school players who reside in Anne Arundel along with a handful of AnneArundel Community College standouts. This year's squad boasts seven AACC players, five of whom are pitchers, and 12 of the top high school seniors.
Last year the Suns took a rain-shortened 4-1 decision over the Oriolelanders to leave the series at 7-4 in favor the Oriolelanders. Nine players who appeared in that game were drafted this spring, including Bill Pulsipher of Fairfax who was taken by the Mets in the second round, and local products Rick Forney and Don Shump.
Pulsipher, The Washington Post Player of the Year from Fairfax High (Va.), batted fourth for the Oriolelanders last year and struck out twice, once by Forney, but the Mets drafted him as a left-handed pitcher.We didn't get to see him pitch last year because the rains preventedthat.
Gilbert got to see him during the fall with the Oriolelanders team, which he keeps together for about 30 games through October, and Pulsipher ended up high on the draft lists of most big-league clubs. Being drafted second is a big deal, and Pulsipher finally signed about a week ago for nearly $200,000.
Forney was drafted and signed by Gilbert to an Orioles' contract after being impressive in last year's game and having a great season at Anne Arundel Community College for head coach Clayton Jacobson.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander from Annapolis High, who was mostly a catcher in high school, just completed his first season in pro ball with the Orioles' rookie team in Sarasota (Fla.) and went 7-0.
"Rick had a great year, and the Orioles want him to pitch in the Instructional League in Sarasota this fall," said Gilbert, who was named Mid-Atlantic Scout of the Year by his peers this summer.
Forney was one of four drafted out of last year's game by Gilbert.
Shump, a slugging third baseman from state 2A champion Northeast High, caught the eye of then-Orioles' associate Bill Buck at last year's game. When Buck moved to a part-time scouting position with the Houston Astros this year, he persuaded theNational League organization to draft Shump in the late rounds.
The ex-Northeast star will play at AACC this season and then be re-evaluated by the Astros as to whether or not he'll be signed.
All five AACC pitchers chosen for this game are potential draftees next spring, depending on the kind of year they have with the Pioneers. The'llget the coaching and guidance from Jacobson and his pitching coach Larry Schillenberg, who holds the same job with the Oriolelanders.
Scott Hatfield, Dwayne Hoyt and Andy Young are all big, strong right-handers from AACC on the staff this year, while two more Pioneers -- right-hander Charlie Buckheit and lefty Jim Simms -- are more of the finesse types.
Hatfield (Glen Burnie High) is 6-foot-4, 210 poundswhile Hoyt (Broadneck) is 6-3, 175 pounds. Those two are second-yearpitchers for the Pioneers and can really hurl it, along with the first-year Young, from Meade High. Young is 6-6 and 195 pounds.
Buckheit led Northeast to the state 2A title last spring and is the county's all-time career wins leader with 30.
The slick right-hander, who throws a lot off-speed stuff, including a knuckle ball to go with his adequate fast ball, caught the attention of several scouts and major college coaches while pitching this summer in Stillwater, Okla., for the Maryland State Team in the Sunbelt Classic.
Simms sparkled at Old Mill for the 4A Region IV runner-up and this summer for the county American Legion Champion Mayo Post No. 266. A crafty left-hander, Simms could develop into a good prospect pitching for the Pioneers.
As for the top high school seniors on the Suns' pitching staff, left-hander Zach Collins and right-hander Brian Rolocut of state 4A champion Arundel are joined by Matt Weimer and Jeff Vincent of Broadneck.
Those four are among 11 local seniors named to the game, the others being catchers Mike Mahoney (Old Mill) and John Milisitz (Severna Park); third baseman /pitcher Rob Martin (Meade) and outfielders Steve Neuberger (Severna Park), Ian Taylor (Meade) and Bob Bush and Jeff Mengel (Mount St. Joseph).