Youse, 80, considers a 39th season 18th AAABA title took toll on coach

August 24, 1993|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Staff Writer

A possible trip to Barcelona, Spain -- not to mention that eternal inner fire -- may lure Walter Youse back to the sandlot diamonds for a 39th season in 1994.

For now, the 80-year-old Youse will savor his amateur baseball team's latest accomplishment and make a decision on next season around Christmas.

Youse, a special-assignment scout for the Milwaukee Brewers, led the Corrigan's Insurance 20-and-under baseball team to a record 18th All-American Amateur Baseball Association (AAABA) National Championship in Johnstown, Pa., this summer, coming on the heels of a trip to the Netherlands.

It was the 19th overall AAABA title for a Baltimore team -- the first coming in 1946 -- since the tournament began in 1945. Youse won his first in 1957 with a shortstop named Phil Linz and a team called Leone's Boys' Club.

While the name of the Baltimore entry has changed, Youse has remained the constant in leading Leone's-Johnny's, Johnny's New and Used Cars, and Corrigan's Insurance to 38 consecutive Baltimore City Championships and berths in the AAABA Tournament.

Scores of major-leaguers including Hall of Famers Al Kaline and Reggie Jackson received their baseball foundations under Youse. During the incredible run, which includes more than 2,500 victories, the Youse fire has burned brightly, but the flame has started to flicker.

"I think it's 50/50 that Walter will be back," said sponsor and former Youse player, Bill Corrigan of Corrigan's Nationwide Insurance. "I know he was really tired at the end this year and I think it's a matter of how the winter treats his bad legs."

Youse admits this summer took its toll physically and mentally, but he truly loves being out there.

"It's the best bunch, behavior wise, we've ever had, and probably the closest," said Youse. "We've had better teams talent wise, but this team got along great, came to the field early and left late every day. But there was a lot of pressure the last two weeks in the regional and national, and I'm tired."

Corrigan's (59-14 overall) won an AAABA Regional in Altoona, Pa., going 5-1, before taking six of seven in Johnstown for the national title. The team played 13 games in 14 days, finishing with a 5-4 thriller over Columbus, Ohio, for the title.

"It was a tough grind," said third-base coach Mel Montgomery, who is the head coach at Old Mill. "We were on the road for a month traveling to Holland, Altoona and Johnstown."

Corrigan's played in the World Port Tournament in Amsterdam against international competition before jumping into the AAABA competition.

Local products who sparkled on the mound for Corrigan's included Jason Mills (7-0, 2.12), Kevin Rexrode (9-2, 2.71) and Ron Walleck (9-3, 3.03). Mills is a graduate of Atholton who pitched at East Carolina, while Rexrode is from Dundalk and Dundalk Community College.

Another Dundalk High product, Lance Mauck (.292, 18 RBI) shared the catching duties with Jason Troilo (.298, 27 RBI) of James Madison. Mauck recently transferred from UMBC to Northern Alabama.

Corrigan's infield and outfield was loaded with local products.

Severna Park grad, Mark Budzinski (.320, 45 RBI, doubles, seven triples and four homers) was the first baseman and plays at Richmond.

Around the infield were Johns Hopkins second baseman Joe Kail (.387, 24 RBI, 12 doubles, four triples and four homers), who was the Most Valuable Player in Johnstown. Donnie Burks (.323, 49 RBI, 10 doubles, five triples and three homers), a Perry Hall grad, who was Most Valuable Player in the Altoona Regional, was the shortstop.

South Carroll High's Joe Goodwin (.301, 41 RBI, seven doubles, two triples and three homers), Norm Gardner (.364, 33 RBI) and Liberty High's Jeff Wagner (.328, 28 RBI) all saw time at third base or designated hitter, and Glenelg grad Joe Goldberg was the utility infielder.

Goodwin attends George Mason, and Gardner and Wagner are from the University of Maryland. Burks is moving from The Citadel to Delaware, and Goldberg has enrolled at Catonsville Community College.

Right fielder Steve Neuberger (.352) of Severna Park, a Baltimore Sun All-Metro pick with Goodwin in 1992, was part of a potent outfield. The University of Maryland freshman All-American led the club in RBI (55) and doubles (18).

John Frank (.318, 41 RBI), a grad of Poly, was the left fielder. Georgia State's Jason Glover (.349, 52 RBI) was in center.

Kenny Batten (.301, 24 RBI) of C. Milton Wright was the fourth outfielder.

"Walter loved this group and the trip to Holland really pulled them together," Corrigan said.

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