After 2 years off, Stars' coach glad to be back in dugout


July 12, 1992|By Pat O'Malley

Looking out on the field the other night at Joe Cannon Stadium and seeing Jim McNally at third base and Scott McClelland at shortstop for the Arundel Stars unlimited team, Mel Montgomery was in his glory.

There is a bond among baseball players and coaches that few other sports can boast, and Montgomery felt it.

After a couple of seasons off, Montgomery, Old Mill High's head coach, is back coaching summer baseball and is glad he is. McNally and McClelland played on Montgomery's state championship team in 1989 and their presence brought back fond memories.

"I really missed it, especially coaching against my former players," said Montgomery who returned this summer to coach the Corrigan's Insurance 20-and-under team, formerly Johnny's of Baltimore.

"It's been a lot of fun and I've learned a few new things from the college players on our team. Being around these college guys you learn new ideas on hitting and new trends on teaching and it can only make me a better coach."

That's coming from a high school coach who just completed his 14th season at Old Mill with a 15-7 record, good for No. 10 in The Baltimore Sun's final top 15 poll for baseball. Montgomery's Patriots qualified for the 4A Region IV playoffs, losing to region winner Arundel in the first round.

At Old Mill, Montgomery's teams have won two state championships (1980 and 1989) and gone 212-79 (.729) overall. His last state championship team was 20-1 and that was the last summer he coached until this year.

Being around former Perry Hall All-Metro outfielder Roy Marsh has been a joy for Montgomery. Marsh, who just completed his first season at Ohio State, has speed few players can match.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pounder has been clocked at 6.2 seconds in the 60-yard -- in track shoes and 6.4 in baseball shoes. Marsh bats third for Corrigan's and leads the club with a .424 batting average (28-for-66), four home runs, four triples, 17 stolen bases and 16 RBI.

"Roy can fly and it's been a lot of fun being around him every day. He reminds me a lot of [ex-Baltimore Oriole outfielder] Al Bumbry, looks just like him," said Montgomery.

"I enjoyed the summers off, but I missed coaching and working with players the caliber of a Roy Marsh. Part of the reason, I gave up coaching was to spend more time with my two children, but I'm still getting to do that.

"My wife [Deborah] has been promoted to principal at Southern Middle School, so I take care of the kids during the day and they come to the games with her at night. They love it."

Montgomery's 6-year-old son, Zach, just completed his third year of baseball in the Greater Glen Burnie program and enjoys hanging around in the dugout with his dad whenever he can.

"Zach's league winds up the end of June so I get to see him play before we get to the meat of our summer schedule," Montgomery said.

His 4-year-old daughter, Alexandria, plays soccer, but loves watching her dad's summer team play.

Corrigan's is off to a 31-6 start, which is a typical year for this club. Originally known as Leone's Boys Club, then Johnny's, the team has been run by veteran Milwaukee Brewers' scouting supervisor Walter Youse for almost 40 years. The organization started in 1954.

Youse, who coached Westport Legion before Leone's, has been at it nearly a half-century and has coached a slew of major leaguers, including Hall of Famer Al Kaline and future hall member Reggie Jackson.

Youse and staff recruit players from all over the country to win the All American Amateur Baseball Association Tournament in Johnstown, Pa., each August.

"We usually don't lose any games after July 4th, because by then, we have everybody [college players from out of town] in and are pretty tough to beat," said Montgomery.

Montgomery has been an integral part of the team's winning 10 of the past 13 Johnstown tournaments, but was on sabbatical during the last two.

"I'm glad to have Mel back because he's a hard worker and excellent coach," said Youse.

Montgomery is joined by Anne Arundel County products Clarke Wagner of Old Mill and Mark Budzinski of Severna Park in trying to make it three AAABA titles in a row while a third, Brian Antal, an Old Mill grad, recently was injured.

Wagner, an All-Metro third baseman from Old Mill under Montgomery in 1990 when he led the area in RBI (39), had a great spring at Missouri Southern State College, batting more than .300.

Thus far this summer, Wagner is hitting .267 (20-for-75) for Corrigan's with four doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI. The third baseman/first baseman really got going last weekend in Harrisburg, Pa., in an unlimited tournament.

"We were the youngest team there and won it in five straight," said Montgomery. "Clarke had a great tournament for us."

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