Baseball fortunes change course for two from South

SIDELINES

April 18, 1993|By PAT O'MALLEY

How about them Dawgs and Seahawks this past week in county high school baseball?

Could it be that the South is rising again?

Southern and South River have suffered through rough times the past few years, and when you include Annapolis, the southern triumvirate hasn't fared too well. The trio was a combined 13-44 last season.

Things are looking up for two of them, while Annapolis is still mired in the Class 4A cellar. I think it's great that Southern and South River are picking up, but what I can't understand for the life of me is why they are trying to keep it a secret.

Southern baseball coach Chuck Crandell didn't bother to report that his Dawgs (3-3) upset The Baltimore Sun's top-ranked Old Mill, 5-4, on Wednesday. Can you believe that?

Most coaches would have called every TV station in Baltimore and D.C., plus the newspapers.

Also, we didn't hear from South River baseball coach Kenny Dunn until Monday evening after his team (3-2) had won an Easter Tournament at Cambridge-South Dorchester. Dunn said he was away for the weekend and left it up to someone to call in his results and the person didn't do it.

It's too bad in both cases, because what the two South County teams did was a big deal. The players who deserved some uncharacteristic attention didn't get it.

Starting this season, Southern had won only 15 total games (15-118) in the last eight years, so knocking off the No. 1 team is a big-time win.

That's not to mention that Southern pulled off the upset of the season thus far on Old Mill's new diamond. It was the Dawgs' first win over Old Mill (1-1) since 1981.

I doubt if anyone in the county gave the Dawgs much of a chance to win, especially since they had just been hammered, 29-2, in three games Monday and Tuesday. Southern was blanked in the Northeast Tournament 3-0 by the host Eagles, and 16-0 by tourney champ Chesapeake on Monday, and 10-2 by second-ranked Arundel on Tuesday in a regular-season game.

Obviously Crandell is making progress with the baseball program at Southern and a win such as the one over Old Mill can only enhance his efforts. The main problem down in the Harwood area of South County has been geographic. Because of the location, there are few opportunities to play summer baseball.

Successful high school coaches will tell you that the top high school players are made in the summer leagues. And in South County, the main reason for Southern, South River and Annapolis being down is the lack of competitive summer leagues and teams.

PD That is beginning to change, thanks to the efforts of the Annapo

lis Legion Post No. 7, the Annapolis Babe Ruth team and the formation of an Annapolis City program.

Dunn encourages his players to play summer baseball and they are taking his advice. A good example is Seahawks freshman pitcher Randy Long, who played with the Annapolis 15-and-under Babe Ruth-Joe E. Brown team last summer.

Long shut out host Cambridge-South Dorchester, 4-0, on a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts Easter weekend. Cambridge is loaded with seniors who got the team to the state 1A playoffs last spring and the same nucleus carried the Cambridge Legion to state runner-up status.

In the middle of their lineup is one of the top pro prospects in the mid-Atlantic area in outfielder Dietrich Johnson.

"There must have been 10 scouts there to see Johnson," said Dunn. "And Randy got him all three times, once on strikes and twice on fly balls. Randy pitched a great game against a good hitting club."

Dunn's Hawks had only four hits but made them count and David Visconti stole two bases and scored twice.

South River rolled over Mount Carmel of Baltimore, 7-1, in the Cambridge Tournament final as junior Joey Darnell and senior left-hander Ronnie Parrish combined on a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts. Clayton Wilson and Andy Meyers each doubled in two.

"I was a little surprised because we knew Doug [Fleetwood, Cambridge coach] had a good ballclub," said Dunn. "We have a young team and winning a tournament like that really helps."

* In other baseball news, North County junior lefty Bob Christopher threw a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts and six walks Wednesday to blank Annapolis, 9-0.

* Seventh-ranked North County (5-1) had six errors in its first five games but committed six in Thursday's 7-1 loss at No. 2 Arundel (5-0).

"It was just a poor performance in the field and we didn't help Joe York [senior right-hander] any at all," said Knights' coach Don Usewick. "[Tim] Giles pitched a good game for them."

That victory was Giles' second in two days. Giles retired the last eight in a row in relief on to notch a 3-2 win at Chesapeake on Wednesday.

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