With ease, Snyder turns to coaching

April 01, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

It's only three games into his first season as head coach of the North Carroll baseball team and Denny Snyder already looks right at home.

The 1984 North Carroll grad, who played four years of baseball at his alma mater and four more at Western Maryland College, is making his mark as a coach with the same kind of aggressive play that still brings him success as a player.

"I'm having a great time," he said. "The opportunity to come back and coach at North Carroll is fun in itself."

After two close losses to open the season, the Panthers came away with a much-needed 4-1 win over county rival Liberty on Wednesday to give Snyder his first victory.

With the game scoreless going into the bottom of the fourth, Mike Huller -- who threw a complete two-hitter -- walked, stole second and third before scoring on a short sacrifice fly. The eventual game-winner came the next inning on a successful suicide squeeze.

With solid pitching, good team speed and sound fundamental play, the Panthers expect to win a lot more games.

"I like to get dirty, slide into bases and be aggressive," said Snyder, 27, who plays in the South Penn League.

"These kids are working hard and getting used to my style, and we're going to make some things happen. You can expect to see solid fundamentals and execution from us. If our four hitter is up and we need to move a runner over, he can expect to bunt."

Snyder got the job after coaching the junior varsity team last season. When former coach Randy Clark stepped down to take an administrative position at South Carroll, Snyder stepped right in.

"Denny's a good player in his own right, and I think he'll make an excellent coach," said Clark.

"He loves to play and loves to coach and really puts a lot of time into it. He directs the kids in a very positive manner with good sportsmanship as well as what he knows about the game."

Snyder also coached two years of junior varsity baseball at Francis Scott Key and was an assistant men's soccer coach at Western Maryland College five of the past six years.

Baseball is far and away his favorite sport and he gives a lot of credit for what he knows about the game to his father, Al, who died of cancer four years ago.

After Wednesday's win, he talked about how the suicide squeeze play would have been something his father would have pulled off.

"My father instilled in me a great love of baseball. I lost him four years ago this month and it's a very emotional time. He coached high school ball a number of years and it's an honor for me to do the same," Snyder said. "My father and I would go out for hours fielding grounders until it got dark. He would talk to me after games telling me what I needed to look for in certain situations and I'd soak it all in."

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