Harford CC program continues resurgence

May 08, 1994|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Sun Staff Writer

The rapidly improving Harford Community College baseball team achieved one of its goals when it reached the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XX playoffs for the pTC first time in nine years last week.

A 7-5 loss to Frederick in the first round last Monday put a damper on the celebration, but it still marked another step on the road back for a team that went from winning a regional title in 1983 to winning only one game in all of 1989 and 1990.

Success did not come overnight. In 1991, there were two wins, but there had been some active recruiting by one-year coach Frank Lynch, so when Dan Vest took over in 1992, the framework was in place.

Vest, who had played for HCC and winning coach Ron Rizzi a decade ago, has made steady team progress in the win column, from six to nine to 11 this spring (11-15 overall, 11-6 in Region XX, Division II).

"Before the season, I could tell we'd be better," Vest said. "We had just about everybody back, and that year of experience makes a big difference. That's when reality sets in -- that this level is tougher than high school -- and you start building from there."

Five of the team's eight regulars -- and its top two pitchers -- were veterans, and they played the part.

Among the pitchers, Scott Kalista (C. Milton Wright) and Alan Ducote each went 5-2 in accounting for all but one of the team's victories (Scott Smith, a freshman from North Harford, got the other).

Ducote pitched 55 innings, including four complete games, allowed 45 hits and had 44 strikeouts, and Kalista had three complete games in his 52 innings, with 27 strikeouts and 16 walks.

Second baseman Tim Miller (Joppatowne), the county's high school Player of the Year two years ago, finished among the top five hitters in NJCAA Division II at .454. In addition, the leadoff hitter topped the team in hits (49), doubles (12) and stolen bases (25) and shared the lead in runs scored (29).

Shortstop Brett Kintz (Towson) was second to Miller in hitting (.412), hits (40), doubles (eight) and RBIs (22) and led in triples (four).

Craig Carpenter (Bel Air), the All-Maryland JuCo designated hitter as a freshman (.377), improved to .389, and the 6-foot-3, 210-pound third baseman led the team in homers (seven) and RBIs (32).

The other veteran starters were first baseman Paul Daniele and outfielder Chris Lamon.

Chris Buckle, a Belaire, La., friend of Ducote, whose parents moved to Forest Hill last year; Jeff Hall (Fallston); and Mark Montgomery (Rising Sun) were three freshman starters who will provide a strong nucleus for next year.

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