For most county coaches, spring vacation baseball tournaments merelyrepresent a way to keep their teams sharp during a 12-day break in the league schedule.
The won-loss results don't count toward the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association's regional playoff point standings. So some coaches experiment, giving players who haven't seen much action a chance to play.
But other coaches play to win and hope the results point to a positive trend for their teams. Of the seven county teams entered in tournaments, only Mount Hebron walked away a champion.
The Vikings knocked off league-leading Atholton in the championship game April 15 behind a superb pitching effort from Alan Vandeberg.
"It was the best-pitched game I've ever seen from a Mount Hebron player," Vikings coach Dave Appleby said.
Vandeberg fanned 10, walked just two and allowed just two hits in an eight-inning complete-game effort. The Vikings won it with a three-run eighth-inning rally. Tony Califano, the team's leading hitter with a .480 average, banged in a run on a single, and Mike Carter hit a two-run double.
So Mount Hebron, which isaveraging six stolen bases per game and has twice stolen home, resumes league action today at Centennial with a 6-4 overall and 3-2 league record. Plus, they know they can beat Atholton.
That's somethingthat no other county team can yet say.
The Raiders are 8-2 overall and 5-0 in league action.
Atholton's tournament play has caused Coach Kevin Kelly to worry about his team's hitting. Atholton scored only one run on two hits against Mount Hebron, wasting a seven-inningno-hit pitching effort by Bryan Egolf. The Raiders won the opening game of their tournament, 2-1, over Hammond.
"Our bats have gone silent," Kelly said. But the Raiders still have three players batting over .400 in Brian Van Deusen (.471), Mark Trecannelli (.462) and Brian Hannah (.438).
In other tournament action, Oakland Mills (5-5, 2-3) exploded for a season-high 15 hits at Harford Community College April 13 to beat Wilde Lake, 14-7. Both teams had lost their opening-round games that same day.
Scorpion coach Bill Winder hopes that the offensive surge continues. The Scorpions have not shown as much offense as he would like, as his team's 6-1 loss to Bel Air in the opening round indicates.
One player who is hitting for Oakland Mills isTony Scarzello (.440), who had four hits, including two doubles in the tourney.
The pitching has pleased Winder. Jayson Kane, a junior, is 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA, and got the tournament win against Wilde Lake. Andy Young and Steve Finkill have also pitched well.
Wilde Lake coach Tim O'Brien said he substituted heavily in the sixth and seventh innings.
Oakland Mills scored four runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh to wipe out a 7-6 Wilde Lake lead. In an earlier April 6 matchup between the teams, Oakland Mills won 3-2 in 11 innings.
Wilde Lake (2-8, 2-3) has three one-run losses this season, including a game to Atholton.
Bobby Lane (.526) and Billy Ferguson (.400) lead the team in batting.
Ferguson had an outstanding tourneywith five hits, including a triple and a double. Wilde Lake's most effective pitcher has been Dan Wahlberg.
Centennial lost to Cardinal Gibbons in the championship round of the Gibbons tournament Monday,5-2. Centennial clobbered Lutheran, 12-0, in the opening round. The young Eagles are 3-2 in league play with losses to Atholton and Glenelg.
Glenelg, 4-1 in league play, was the only county team not participating in a holiday tourney.