Hail, hail to Rolo and Kim the Perfect, the record setters!
With the high school sports seasons winding down, it's the time of year that the unexpected occurs. Teams fighting for playoff berths step it up a notch, and the early season's hard work comes to fruition.
That happened Friday for a pair of flame-throwing pitchers, Arundel's Brian Rolocut and Archbishop Spalding's Kim Sheridan. Also adding to a fantastic Friday, the Glen Burnie girls softball team posted one of the biggest wins in coach Bob Broccolino's 13-year tenure.
Call Rolocut the Johnny Vandermeer of county high school baseball. All right, I should have known a lot of you youngsters don't have a clue about who Johnny Vandermeer is.
Vandermeer is the only pitcher in major-league history to throw back-to-back no-hitters. The lefty did it for the Cincinnati Red Stockings (now just the Reds) June 11 and 15, 1938.
"Rolo," as he is called by his Wildcat teammates, became the first county pitcher to ever accomplish the feat Friday night when he blanked North County (5-10), 1-0, but his other no-hitter on Monday by 7-0 over Southern was not a complete game for him.
Tim Giles threw the final inning to combine with Rolo for the no-hitter against Southern.
Two other pitchers in county history have thrown two no-hitters in a season: Arundel's Frank Parreira in 1976 and Scott Wharton of Old Mill in '78. The two no-hitters in a season tie a state record.
Besides our three county pitchers who have now done it, Bryan "Moose" Haas of Franklin in Baltimore County did it in 1974, the year he recorded the state record perfect earned run average of 0.00.
All four pitchers with two no-hitters in a season were right-handers, but Rolo is believed to be the first to do it back-to-back.
In Friday's no-hitter over North County, Rolo punched out 10 and walked five under the lights at Arundel (12-4) in Gambrills. The senior ace also was involved in the game's only run.
Rolo tripled off the center field fence in the first inning off the Knights' junior Joe York, who yielded only three hits and also struck out 10 on the night. Tony Constanza ran for Rolo and scored on Chris Durocher's fielder's choice.
"It was just an outstanding effort by both pitchers, a great high school baseball game with a good crowd looking on," said Arundel coach Bernie Walter, who lifted his 19-year career record to 297-86.
Arundel meets Northeast (11-6) 7 p.m. tonight at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans and visits Queen Anne's (6-5) on Wednesday at 3.45 p.m. Coach Walter has not decided when Rolocut will pitch next, but when he does, it'll be interesting to see how long he goes before giving up a hit. Or will he not give up a hit at all and go one better than even Johnny Vandermeer?
Just as amazing as Rolo is Spalding's Kim "The Perfect" Sheridan. The Cavaliers' ace fired a county record third perfect game of the season and second straight by 3-0 over Baltimore's Seton Keough. Sheridan struck out for the Cavaliers (11-3) of Coach Jim Nemeth.
L Kelly Mabe and Carrie Lycett had two hits each for Spalding.
On Tuesday, Sheridan fired a perfect game by 3-0 over Mt. De Sales with 16 strikeouts.
"With the 14 strikeouts Friday, Kim is within striking distance of Jennifer Grinath's career strikeout record," said coach Nemeth.
Grinath struck out 767 in her three-state championship career at Northeast from 1986-89. Unofficially, Sheridan has 747 strikeouts. With as many as two games left in the Baltimore Catholic League Tournament, she could pass Grinath.
Coming into this season, Sheridan, whose career at Spalding began in 1989, had 588 strikeouts (218-190-180). We believe she has 159 this season through the Seton-Keough game. Nemeth is checking the records to make sure of the exact number.
Spalding clinched a first-round bye in the Catholic League playoffs as top seed, and will play a second-round contest Thursday against a first-round winner. A victory there for Sheridan and the Cavs, and they would play one final game for the title and possibly a new career strikeouts record.
To pass Grinath in anything is worth bragging about because the former Eagle was truly the greatest pitcher in Anne Arundel County history and our Player of the 80s Decade. By the way, the 218 strikeouts Sheridan had her freshman year still stand as a county single-season record. The most Grinath had in a season was 205 in 1988, but the latter is the only windmiller to reach 200 or more three times in her career.
Also, in girls softball, a sweet victory for Bob Broccolino and his Glen Burnie Gophers (6-6) Friday as they shut down Old Mill (13-2) at Old Mill, 13-3. In April, Old Mill had humiliated Glen Burnie, 16-0, but this one belonged to the Gophers.
"This was after they had beaten us by the slaughter rule the first time," said an ecstatic Broccolino on the 24-Hour Sportsline.
Broccolino had called that first game "the worse in my 13 years," but all is forgotten now.