Local players, coach are hits at first private school state baseball tournament


June 04, 1993|By PAT O'MALLEY

It's sports smorgasbrowse time.

With a local contingent playing key roles, Mount St. Joseph High School of Baltimore won the first Maryland Private and Parochial State High School Baseball Tournament last weekend.

Coach Dave Norton, a resident of Pasadena, led his third seed Gaels (19-5) to the title by knocking off top seed Riverdale Baptist (29-6) in the final, 6-4, and eliminating No. 2 seed McDonogh (20-4) in the semifinals at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans.

Lake Shore resident Steve Matchuk (4-1) was the winning pitcher for the Gaels in the title game, and Millersville's Tim Trotta got the opening-game victory in a 20-1 rout of seventh seed Pallotti (10-8).

Trotta was the only student from a non-county high school on the 11th annual All-County Academic-Athletic Team this spring.

Senior first baseman Buddy Edmond was the Gaels' offensive leader in the tournament, driving in 10 runs.

"Our kids were consistent all season long and winning the first state private school tournament was a great way to cap the year," Norton said. "When the year started, we were ranked below four other MSA A Conference schools and ended up having a very good season."

St. Joe was ranked No. 5 in The Baltimore Sun's last poll. No. 2 Calvert Hall (21-4) won the MSA A Conference title, and No. 3 McDonogh was runner-up. Two other schools ranked ahead of the Gaels in the early polls were Cardinal Gibbons and Loyola, and neither met its coach's expectations.

"We're pretty proud of what our kids did," Norton said.

* Norton also announced that the Crown All-Stars and Team Maryland, two senior all-star teams that figure to be represented by several Anne Arundel County players, will be introduced Monday at a news conference at Camden Yards.

In the doubleheader tryouts for the two teams over the weekend in Salisbury, Old Mill's Lee Haney was named an MVP, Joe York of NorthCounty took Outstanding Pitcher honors and Chesapeake shortstop John Young hit a three-run homer.

* Arundel High first baseman/pitcher Tim Giles, who tied the state record with a .586 batting average and was 9-1 on the mound, has been named a first-team Mizuno All-American. Giles is believed to be the first from Anne Arundel so honored.

* Talk about going out in style. Chesapeake High graduate Alex Spak sure did this May at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Spak, the only Anne Arundel County athlete to be named All-County first team in any sport all four years of high school (1986 to 1989), just completed a brilliant college career as a bona fide student-athlete.

Graduating on the dean's list for academic achievement and receiving the university's Linda B. Baker Award for leadership, scholarship and athletics, Spak made the All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference first team as a softball pitcher.

Forced to the sidelines last spring with a blood clot in her right pitching arm, Spak, who was named the Anne Arundel County Sun Softball Player of the '80s Decade, was determined to pitch her senior year and did, setting several school records.

The windmill hurler, who was named All-County as a pitcher three years and as an outfielder the other year, was 11-4 her senior year at Shippensburg for a team that went 23-10 and finished fourth in the Quaker State finals.

Showing no signs of her near-career-ending injury, Spak struck out 10 or more batters in a game four times and set a school record with 13 in one game. She pitched consecutive three-hit shutouts at Clarion and nationally ranked Bloomsburg and finished with a school-best career record of 37-14.

Other school records set by Spak this spring included: most strikeouts in a season (132); fewest walks (seven, one was intentional); most consecutive innings without a walk (59, and it ended on an intentional pass); lowest ERA in a season (0.75); best career ERA (1.49); and most career strikeouts (343).

She also was named second-team All-American by the National Coaches Association as an at-large player and to the NCAA Division II All-Mid Atlantic Team.

During her high school career, Spak went 14-1 with an ERA of 0.31 her junior year in leading the Cougars to their first state title in 1988. It's safe to say she took her career successfully to the next level.

* Another Chesapeake High grad doing very well is pitcher Derek Hasselhoff. Hasselhoff, who graduated from the Lake Shore school in 1991 as a pitcher/shortstop, has had two outstanding seasons at Towson State.

His continued improvement as a pitcher (5-3 with the Tigers this spring) has won him a spot on the pitching staff of the Broome County Rangers in Binghamton, N.Y. The Rangers are a member of the competitive Northeast Collegiate Baseball League.

"Derek had arm problems early on, but came around and did a great job for us," said Towson State coach Ed Gottlieb.

"When he first came here, his velocity was around 79 [mph], but he now has it at about 82-83 and Billy Hunter thinks he has a chance to sign some day."

Hunter, a former major-league shortstop (New York Yankees and Orioles), coach (Orioles) and manager (Texas Rangers), is the Towson State athletic director.

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