Cambridge's Johnson draws scouts to Eastern Shore Baseball notebook

April 05, 1993|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Staff Writer

Major-league baseball scouts are flocking to the Eastern Shore for the first time since the Baltimore Orioles' Harold Baines was tearing it up for St. Michael's in 1977.

"I haven't seen anything like this over here since Baines," said veteran Cambridge South Dorchester head baseball coach Doug Fleetwood of his senior outfielder, Dietrich Johnson.

"There were 21 scouts here to watch our first game this spring," Fleetwood said.

Baines, who is scheduled to have his homecoming as an Oriole at Camden Yards today, was the No. 1 pick in the nation by the Chicago White Sox in the June free-agent draft in 1977. The late Bill Veeck, who was then running the White Sox, was a shore neighbor of Baines and first saw him at age 12.

Fleetwood, who is also the principal and football coach at Cambridge, says that "Dietrich is an exceptional athlete."

Johnson led the Vikings to Class 2A state runner-up finishes in football and basketball this year, the latter a 65-59 loss to top-ranked Dunbar in the final at Cole Field House.

Fleetwood said the baseball scouts even came out to watch Johnson quarterback the Vikings' run-and-shoot offense last fall. The football team dropped the 2A final to Wilde Lake, 23-7.

"I got a lot of requests for press passes to our football games from the pro baseball scouts, and they're telling me now that Dietrich could go [be drafted] in the first five rounds," said Fleetwood.

"He's got a full ride [scholarship] to South Carolina for baseball if he wants it," Fleetwood said.

Come June, the young man could have a tough decision to make.

Decision time approaches

Another player who has a tough decision to make is Calvert Hall third baseman/pitcher Larry Marino. Marino, who batted .423 with 29 RBI as a junior, hopes to decide among Duke, Wake Forest and George Washington universities within the next two weeks.

"Larry is leaning toward GW because of their travel schedule and the fact they make the NCAA tournament every year," said his father, Larry.

Marino was a standout for the Oriolelanders fall team operated by Orioles scouting supervisor Jim Gilbert and his son, Tom Gilbert.

"He's a great defensive player with great hands and a really good arm," said Tom Gilbert.

"He's a line-drive hitter, and he really is a winner with an attitude that he rises to the occasion when it's time to turn it up a notch. It was a pleasure to have him on the team."

Early surprises no surprise

Two-time defending Class 2A champion Northeast was humbled, 22-0, by Class 4A North County Wednesday, and it was easily the worst beating suffered by the Eagles of coach Harry Lentz.

Despite returning a pair of second-team all-county pitchers, Wayne Hudson and Chris Kelly, and the addition of Glen Burnie left-hander Ed Nalley, Lentz warned everyone that "we lost our entire infield [to graduation], and the type of pitchers we have throw a lot of ground balls."

Northeast committed eight errors, and it didn't help that the three pitchers mentioned, along with Jason Hohman, combined for 20 walks.

In contrast, North County senior Joe York (five walks) and sophomore Mike Wooden (eight strikeouts) combined on a two-hitter with 14 strikeouts.

With the lack of work outside because of the poor field conditions, there may be quite a few lopsided scores.

Another surprising score came from the Maryland Scholastic Association, where Mount St. Joseph shut out Cardinal Gibbons, 15-0.

The club that jumps on top figures to have a piece of cake while teams try to get used to being outside. Pitchers throwing strikes and infielders playing catch are more important than ever.

Hubbard coaching for Cards

Jack Hubbard, former Calvert Hall and University of Baltimore coach, is the first-base coach for manager Joe Torre and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Hubbard has had a meteoric rise in professional baseball, going from part-time scout with the Milwaukee Brewers to a supervisory position with the Major League Scouting Bureau to a minor-league coach for the New York Yankees and finally to the Cardinals.

"Jack is a personable guy, hard worker and loves baseball," said ......TC Walter Youse, the veteran Brewers scout who once hired Hubbard. "I'm glad for him."

Youse is contacting his former players, many of whom made it to the major leagues, in hopes of receiving donations so he can return his Corrigan's 20-and-under team to a tournament in the Netherlands this summer.

Meanwhile, the Carroll County resident is getting ready to go after his 41st consecutive Baltimore City Championship.

Youse first won a city championship under Leone's, then Johnny's, before Corrigan's Insurance became the sponsor a couple of years ago.

Teaming up again

Mark Budzinski, a sophomore outfielder at the University of Richmond batting .378 in 12 games, and outfielder Steve Neuberger, starting as a freshman at Maryland, will be reunited this summer on Corrigan's.

Budzinski, a second-team All-Metro (.444, 27 runs) selection in 1991, and Neuberger (.491, 29 runs), a first-team All-Metro pick -- last spring, played together at Severna Park High.

Each was chosen as the Falcons' Male Athlete of the Year in his senior year.

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