On the run, Dundalk CC wears path to victories

April 24, 1994|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

Just run, baby.

That seems to be the credo of the Dundalk Community College baseball team, which has been running rampant on the base paths this season.

In 30 games, the Lions (21-9) have stolen 141 bases, an average of 4.7 steals per game. They stole a sea son-high 12 bases in a game against Housatonic Community and Technical College last month.

A potent running game is nothing new for Dundalk, however. The Lions had a school-record 211 steals in 1988.

"About seven or eight years ago, we decided to open up the game," said Dundalk coach Elliott Oppenheim, who has 459 career wins in 26 seasons. "At Dundalk, the wind blows in 90 percent of the time. It's tough to hit the ball out. When you run, you can cause things to happen.

"We have four or five pages in our playbook just on running. It's our No. 1 priority. We'll run in any situation, on any count."

That was evident in Dundalk's doubleheader sweep of Prince George's Community College yesterday. The Lions stole home three times in the two games, winning the first contest when Roger Main stole home in the bottom of the eighth.

Seven players have the go-ahead to steal at any time, including Brian Baroody, who has a team-high 50 stolen bases. Four other players have 10 or more steals: Main (20), Ken Konopacki (17), Jason Benyo (15) and Rob Dziemburski (11).

Despite their impressive stolen base statistics, the Lions are not exactly a team of track stars.

"We only have one kid that can really run and that's Baroody," Oppenheim said. "The rest are smart base runners. This year's team may be the slowest I've had."

The drawback to Oppenheim's aggressive style is that his team xTC sometimes runs itself out of innings.

"As long as they're being aggressive, there's no problem with getting thrown out," he said.

So, what exactly is Dundalk's stolen-base percentage?

Don't ask Oppenheim. That's the one statistic he doesn't keep.

"I just worry about how many times we're safe, not how many times we're thrown out," he said.

Four Knights on right track

Two men and two women from the Essex Community College track and field team will be competing in the National Junior College Athletic Association Championships in Odessa, Texas, next month.

Darryl Newby and Barry Douglas qualified for the nationals in the 200-meter -- at the Nittany Lions Relay at Penn State last Saturday. Newby won the event in 21.2 seconds, and Douglas was second at 21.3.

On the women's side, freshman Eloise Moore qualified in the 100 when she posted a time of 12.1 to finish first at the Catholic University Invitational last Saturday.

Lori Edwards qualified for the outdoor nationals when she registered a 57.8 in the 400 at the NJCAA Indoor Track Championships at Kansas State during the winter.

"We have had some fine performances so far, but we are also looking for our men's mile-relay team to qualify," Essex track coach Bufort Widenhouse said.

"And our women's 4x100-meter relay squad has run a 51.6 and they need to run a 49.6 to qualify."

Essex-Anne Arundel III

With last Wednesday's 16-14 loss to Anne Arundel Community College, the Essex men's lacrosse team missed an opportunity to clinch its seventh consecutive trip to the NJCAA Final Four.

The Knights will get another chance, however, when they again meet the Pioneers at Catonsville Community College on Saturday.

The winner of this third meeting between the teams -- Essex won the first contest, 12-11, in double overtime -- wins the Region XX title and receives an automatic berth in the national playoffs at Anne Arundel May 7-8.

Essex, ranked fourth in the country, had defeated the Pioneers 17 straight times before Wednesday.

No. 5 Anne Arundel had not beaten the Knights since 1985.

"The winner of the third game gets to go to the nationals. That should be incentive enough," said Essex coach Tim Puls, who has taken the Knights to the national championship game in three of the past four seasons.

"But with Anne Arundel serving as host to the national tournament, you know they don't want to be sitting on the sidelines watching. This game should be a real battle."

View from the top

Dundalk Community College center fielder Tracy Brannock has continued to enjoy the view at the top of the Lions' batting order.

Earlier this month, Dundalk softball coach Charlie Holston moved Brannock from the sixth spot in the order to the leadoff position for a doubleheader against the University of Maryland's club team.

She responded by going a combined 5-for-6 in the two games with eight RBIs, seven of which came in the first game.

Since then, Braddock has remained in a groove at the plate. In 11 games as the leadoff batter, she is hitting .474 (18-for-38) with 17 RBIs and 11 runs scored.

Sparked by Braddock, Dundalk -- 2-5 before her ascension in the lineup -- has won nine of 11.

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