Jim Norgard isn't certain that the Severna Park 16-and-under baseball team can afford a trip to Laredo, Texas, for the national tournament later this summer. But he'll tackle that problem, with gusto, when he comes to it.
Or, if he comes to it.
First, Severna Park must win the double-elimination Continental Amateur Baseball Association Tournament, which began last night at Sawmill Creek Park. Norgard, an assistant coach who is filling in while head coach Steve Keefer is away on business, gathered his players for an 8:30 p.m. opening game. The six-team tournament continues through the weekend.
"We just got back from a tournament in North Carolina," Norgard said, "so the boys are willing to try to raise the money one way or the other."
"We'll try to get a lot of sponsors and probably have a car wash," said infielder/pitcher Brad Tippin, 16, who will enter his junior year at Severna Park High School. "We'll get down there somehow."
But only by placing first this weekend, which both Tippin and Norgard believe is a distinct possibility.
"I think we have a good chance," Tippin said. "We have enough pitching, we have a good power lineup and we have a lot of speed."
Norgard said, "I expect we should do pretty well. We may not take it, but we'll be right up in there.
"Almost all of these kids played on the varsity team at Severna Park High, so they all have the experience."
With a couple of make-up games pending, Severna Park is 17-6 and in third place in the Mickey Mantle League. The top two teams, the Glen Burnie Patriots and the Pasadena Saints, declined to take part in the CABA tournament, opting to participate in different competitions.
"We should have taken first, really. We had the kids to do it," said Norgard, whose team also is playing in a Howard County tournament this weekend. "We just had a couple of rough games. We lost one game [to Pasadena], 1-0, in 12 innings. But as a whole, we're happy with what we did. The kids did real well, even with all their conflicts with baseball camps and football camps."
Besides Tippin, 10 other players on the roster attend Severna Park High: Mark Carpenter, center field; Mike Fleming, left field; Mike Hickerson, shortstop/pitcher; Jason Keefer, shortstop/second base; Chad Moran, catcher; Joe Mundt, pitcher/first base; Shane Norgard, third base; Scott Neuberger, center field; Pat Rodgers, outfield; and Scott Vane, pitcher/second base. Dan Ramsey of Old Mill plays first base.