Giles, Walter an unbeatable team 1993 ALL-ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY BASEBALL TEAM Coach of the Year

June 09, 1993|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Staff Writer

A lot of what Tim Giles and Arundel (21-1) accomplished this season in winning the state baseball championship is reflected in the personality of the Wildcats' coach.

Giles and Bernie Walter, the Baltimore Sun's 1993 Anne Arundel County Baseball Player and Coach of the Year, respectively, mirror each other. Each is a fierce competitor and a winner.

Giles led the Wildcats -- top-ranked in the state by The Baltimore Sun and in the nation by the Easton Player National Poll in Collegiate Baseball -- to the school's record sixth state championship. His hitting and pitching earned him Mizuno All-American first-team honors and a full baseball scholarship to University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

Arundel assistant and JV coach Tut O'Hara pegged Giles for future greatness as a sophomore. Giles lived up to his reputation, being honored that summer as the Maryland 15-and-under Babe Ruth Player of the Year.

Giles was the county's most feared hitter this spring in tying the county and state single-season record for average -- .586 set by Severna Park's Rob McCandless in 1991.

Giles' career average of .484 (75-for-155) in two seasons establishes a county and state record, besting the old record of .482 set by Glen Burnie's Chuck Reid (1988-89).

Giles led the county in RBI (33) and hits (41), scored 24 runs, had

seven doubles, three triples and six homers, and struck out only three times.

His on-base percentage was .643 and his 1.029 slugging percentage is a state record.

"Without a doubt, Tim is clearly the best power hitter we've had here," said Walter of his left-handed hitter.

Walter also talked of Giles' ability to deliver under pressure. He hit the game-winning homer in the bottom of the ninth to edge upset-minded Chesapeake and its All-County left-hander Jason White in the first game of the 4A, Region IV playoffs. Giles also went the distance on the mound that day.

When Walter handed Giles the ball to pitch, the result also was excellence. As part of what Walter called "as a good a one-two punch as we've had" with All-County junior right-hander Brandon Agamennone, Giles was 9-1 with one save and a 1.73 ERA.

Giles, a right-handed thrower, struck out 70 in 56 2/3 innings, walked only 12, and gave up 40 hits.

When he was not pitching, Giles played first base flawlessly, making no errors on 124 chances.

"Tim had such a great year because of his mental approach and determination to make himself a great player," said Walter.

"I've never seen a kid come from being an average athlete and turn himself into an above-average athlete as Tim did. Never seen anyone improve as much as an athlete as he did."

Told by pro scouts, such as Baltimore Orioles scouting supervisor Jim Gilbert, who coached Giles in the fall on the Oriolelanders, that he needed to improve his running speed, the 6-foot-3 Giles did just that -- going from a 7.6 runner in 60 yards to a 7.0.

"I lost about 10 pounds [from 215 to 205] in the off-season, and that helped my bat speed, and I worked hard at the running drills Mr. Walter gave me," said Giles.

"It's the mental aspects of the game that Mr. Walter gives us, which makes us all successful."

That last remark was echoed by All-County shortstop Jeff Hedrick, who said of the Coach of the Year, "Mr. Walter teaches us to play hard for seven innings no matter who we play.

"He's tough and stays on us, but it's all constructive criticism."

Walter has done it all as a coach in his 20 years (323-89) at the Gambrills school, but one thing was missing until this season.

Walter is the only Maryland coach to win a World Title (he led the USA Junior National team to one in Australia in 1988), a National American Legion title with Mayo Post No. 226 in 1990, and five national titles with the Leone's-Johnny's (now Corrigan's Insurance) 19-and-under teams going 962-131 from 1966-79.

Before this season, his Wildcats won state championships in 1976 (22-1), 1977 (20-3), 1981 (19-6), 1987 (21-3) and 1991 (20-4), but none of his teams had won a top ranking in a national publication. Now he has that, too.

"We did it because this was our best defensive team [.966 fielding percentage and 20 double plays], best slugging team throughout the lineup and a team that was focused on its goals," said Walter.

Giles and the rest of the Wildcats were truly a reflection of their coach.

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