Some players on the Anne Arundel Community College baseball team have come quite a way to play for the Pioneers.
Starting third baseman Brent Flaherty, a sophomore, hails from Easton on the Eastern Shore.
Freshman catcher Jeff Dofflemyer graduated from Gaithersburg's Quince Orchard High, on the southwestern tip of Montgomery County. And Mike Nelson, who is battling Dofflemyer for the starting spot, is from Patapsco in eastern Baltimore County.
Dennis Lowe, a right-handed sophomore from Queen Anne's County, and Greg Shepherd, a sophomore right-hander from Mount St. Joseph, will work with nine other pitchers in the Pioneers rotation.
Like Sheppard, who transferred from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, starting left fielder Kevin Shiavone and right-handed sophomore Glenn Shiring left other college programs to play for the Pioneers.
Shiring, a freshman, and Shiavone, a sophomore, attended Prince George's Community College and Salisbury State, respectively, after graduating from Severna Park.
"They all want to play for the best program in the state," joked Pioneer coach Clayton Jacobson.
Of course, said Jacobson, the Pioneers return several "home boys" from last year's 27-9 Eastern Division champion squad, including four solid hitters and four right-handed pitchers who combined for a 17-3 record in 1991.
"We've got 11 pitchers, and we're still not sure who the ace is," said Jacobson, whose pitching coach is Larry Schillenberg.
His other assistants are Frank Lotman, Bob Lilliock and Frank Klebe, the former head coach at Catonsville Community College.
Although graduation claimed right-handers Jim Durek, who's now at the University of Richmond (Va.), and Jason Smith, who's at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., the rotation is solid.
"We figure we're pretty deep," Jacobson said. "And they canall throw strikes."
Scott Hatfield, a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, looks like the front-runner for the No. 1 spot in the rotation. The Glen Burnie graduate led the team last year with a 1.83 ERA and a 6-0 record.
Also returning are 6-3, 170-pound Dwayne Hoyt; 6-7, 195-pound Andy Young; and 6-4, 220-pound John Byer. Hoyt, a Broadneck High graduate, was 5-1 last year, while Young, of Meade High, and Byer, of Glen Burnie High, were 4-1 and 2-1, respectively.
Newcomers Charlie Buckheit, a first-team All-County player at Northeast High last year, and Jimmy Simms, a second-team player from Old Mill High, bolster therotation. Buckheit helped Northeast to a 24-0 record and the Class 2A state championship, graduating with a county-record 30 career victories. Simms is a left-hander with plenty of finesse.
Two more right-handers, Mike Cieslak (Old Mill), who played for the Pioneers two years ago, and Mike Fearing (Annapolis) add depth. However, "gone" to graduation are several of last year's heavy hitters, said Jacobson.
Catcher Rick Stang, third baseman Jim McNally and outfielder Jay Schline are at Bluefield (W.Va.) State College, catcher Pat Kahl is at Florida International in Miami, second baseman Mike Kirkpatrick is attending the University of North Carolina, and first baseman Jeff Martin is playing at Limestone College in Gaffney, S.C.
That leaves the burden on returnees like Nelson (.381), shortstop Andy Srebroski (.379), first baseman Jerry Nicklow (.350) and center fielder Jason Sigler (.238). Srebroski, a Northeast graduate, is a former Anne ArundelCounty Sun Player of the Year.
Shiavone and reserve first basemanRuss Curry should help boost the Pioneers' power at the plate. A first-team All-County player a year ago, Curry ranked second in hitting for Northeast last year with 39 RBI. And with 13 career home runs at Severna Park, Shiavone is tied for first in the high school record books with Brian Antal (Old Mill).
Buttressing the defense are second baseman Willie Scott, an All-County player at North County, and right fielder George Canceran, a Chesapeake graduate.
Jacobson was planning on having Northeast graduates and former All-County players Craig Everett and Don Shump in Pioneer uniforms. But they are academically ineligible. Everett was The Anne Arundel County Sun's 1991 Playerof the Year, and Shump set a county record for RBI in a single-season (45) and a state record for career RBI (81).