Wrenn: Time to change playoff system Open tourney would preserve rivalries Baseball notebook

April 26, 1993|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Staff Writer

Patterson's veteran baseball coach, Roger Wrenn, is among the many who likes the idea of doing away with the playoff points system and going to an open tournament that would include everyone.

"It sounds awfully good to me," said Wrenn, who is in his first year with the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA).

A proposal is in the works to be presented at the early fall district meetings to do away with the points system in all team sports except football.

Since football teams play weekly, the season would be too long if all schools were included in postseason. So football would continue a points system -- eight points for a win over a Class 4A school, seven for 3A, six for 2A and five for 1A.

Football is the only sport that awards bonus points -- a point for every victory earned by an opponent you beat.

Each sports season, teams total their points, get their calculators out and divide by their total number of games (holiday tournament games do not count) to figure their playoff points average. Their records don't mean as much as the mathematical results, and it can be very confusing to fans as well as coaches.

"When Bernie [Walter, athletic director and baseball coach at Arundel] first mentioned the idea to me, I thought it made a lot of sense," said Wrenn, who is concerned about having to drop long-standing Baltimore rivalries if the current points system continues.

Patterson is a Class 4A school in Region IV with Edmondson, Queen Anne's and nine schools from Anne Arundel County.

With many city rivals not being Class 4A, the Clippers only hurt their playoff chances under the current system by continuing the traditional games.

Playing 3A and 2A teams lessens a 4A school's chances of HTC qualifying.

"Right now we are honoring our long-standing commitments, bu if the state sticks to the playoff points, we will have to make some changes," said Wrenn. "If they put everybody in the state tournament, we could continue our natural rivalries and not have worry about how many points a team is worth."

A state tournament with all teams included would take a maximum of six dates.

Using Class 4A as an example, there are 44 MPSSAA schools.

After the first round of single elimination, 22 teams would be left, and using byes for odd numbers, it gets down to two teams for

the championship on the sixth date.

Hot bat

Wrenn's senior center fielder, John Sauer has launched a couple of prodigious homers for the Clippers. Sauer hit two recently in a seven-RBI game against Lake Clifton.

"The first one around the left-field foul pole cleared the 20-foo wall, 345 feet from home plate. It had to go at least 365 feet," said Wrenn.

"John's second homer went over the left-center-field wall, back and over our football bleachers and track and onto the football field. It was at least 400 feet away."

Sophomore power

Glenelg High's sophomore infielder, Mike Goldberg, hit three homers in three games last week. Goldberg hit a mammoth homer at Howard Friday in a 28-2 romp while hitting for the cycle.

Goldberg, who homered in a 6-4 win over Oakland Mills on Wednesday, had a bases-empty shot Saturday in a 4-1 loss to defending state 3A champion Thomas Johnson of Frederick.

Father-son coaching duo

Former Mount St. Joseph shortstop Jim Foit has done a remarkable job of making Thomas Johnson a state power in a short time but gives credit to his assistant coach Jim Foit Sr., his dad.

The elder Foit coached his son on the Johnny's amateur team, but now takes orders from his son, who played in the Texas Rangers system.

Foit was a Baltimore Sun honorable mention All-Metro selectio in 1977 with a boy from Aberdeen named Cal Ripken Jr.

Major signings

Arundel's Tim Giles and Dietrich Johnson of Cambridge-South Dorchester have accepted baseball scholarships to a couple of excellent collegiate programs.

Giles, a left-handed-hitting first baseman-pitcher who throws right-handed, signed Friday with the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

Arundel coach Bernie Walter says Giles "has the best swin we've ever had here at Arundel."

Johnson, a right-handed-hitting outfielder with power and speed that enabled him to quarterback the Vikings run-and-shoot football team and also star in basketball, signed with the University of South Carolina Wednesday.

South Carolina was ranked 18th in the nation in the NCAA Division I coaches' poll published in USA Today and Baseball Weekly.

"There has been a lot of pressure on Dietrich this spring with so many scouts [20 to 25 pro scouts per game] coming to his games, that we felt it was best for him to get the signing out of the way," said Cambridge baseball coach Doug Fleetwood.

Gael 'closing' in St. Louis

Ex-Mount St. Joseph and Anne Arundel Community College right-hander Greg Shepherd is within two saves of the school record at the University of Missouri at St. Louis.

Shepherd has six saves for the 15th-ranked Division II school, which played in the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament last weekend.

Game of the week

Top-ranked Arundel (also No. 22 last week in the USA Today's Super 25 national rankings) puts its ranking on the line at 3:45 at home today against Old Mill.

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Note: If you know of any noteworthy information about former or current high school baseball players, call Pat O'Malley's 24-Hour Sportsline at (410) 647-2499.

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