Meade's Terry wins criticism for denying Tomshack shot at record


May 15, 1994|By PAT O'MALLEY

On the high school baseball beat this spring, I saw some

unique things, including the second perfect game in county history, by Mike Wooden of North County over Old Mill.

I was lucky to be there for Sean Fairbanks' dramatic three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh for Arundel's only hit in a 5-3 win over Chesapeake and covered an awesome relief effort by Calvert Hall's Andy Bair, who closed the door on Arundel in the Wildcats' Easter Tournament.

Bair struck out five of the six batters he faced by blowing the ball dTC past the Wildcats. Later, I was fortunate enough to cover Bair's perfect game at McDonogh, the first 21 up and 21 down game I have witnessed in my 25 years as a reporter.

Wooden treated me to another perfect game, but I saw something else that was shocking on the negative side. It happened Thursday and deserves not only the "Boo of the Spring Sports Season," but the entire year.

Meade baseball coach Rick Terry wins it hands down. Terry deprived North County's Steve Tomshack of a shot at a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment when he ordered two intentional walks after Tomshack had homered in each of his first three trips to the plate.

Tomshack, a junior infielder, hit two shots over the left-field fence in the first inning as the Knights scored 10 runs and went on to a 24-3 romp to clinch the school's first-ever baseball playoff spot.

In the third inning, Tomshack hit another home run.

When he came up a second time in the inning, Wooden was on first base with the Knights leading 17-1. Terry ordered Tomshack put on, which by National High School Federation rules means the batter takes first with no pitches thrown.

"He [Terry] hollered that he wasn't going to let him hit a fourth one, and I just laughed, thought he was joking," said a shocked North County coach Don Usewick.

"I couldn't believe he did it. In a close game, I could understand it, but with the score 17-1, I don't know what it proves."

It proves that Terry has no compassion and had absolutely nothing to gain other than the criticism he is getting. It's too bad he apparently took the frustrations of a 1-17 campaign out on a player. This is high school baseball, not the big leagues.

Terry got a chance to redeem himself when Tomshack came up in the fifth with runners on first and third and the score 17-2. If Terry walked him the first time because he is a supreme optimist and thought his team might come back, then surely in the fifth he knew it was hopeless.

Nope. He walked Tomshack again to load the bases.

In Tomshack's sixth and final at-bat in the sixth inning, Terry wasn't paying attention and was sitting with his players. Before Terry noticed Tomshack was up, pitcher Danny Todd threw two pitches and Tomshack fouled out to first base.

Had Tomshack hit one of those pitches out, I'm sure Terry would have yanked Todd. He had already taken a couple players out in the middle of an inning for making errors, and Todd was working on his second stint in the game.

Starter Jorge Cruz came out during the 10-run first, holding his arm, with Todd replacing him. Cruz was back in the second and gone again in the third with Todd returning to the hill.

Terry can make all the moves he wants involving his own team, but to make moves that deprive a player on an opposing team a chance at an unforgettable moment when nothing else is at stake is very poor.

Tomshack tied the county and state record for homers in a game and became only the second in county history to hit three. Don Shump of Northeast hit three in a game in 1991.

Unfortunately, Tomshack was not only denied the chance to try to set a record for homers (a fourth one would have made his the first Maryland name in the National High School Sports Record Book), but RBIs as well.

Chesapeake's Rob Bodnar knocked in a county and state record 10 in a game in 1985. Tomshack's five RBIs in an inning tied a

state record. He also was denied a crack at the national record for homers in a game (five by Ken Lisko, Youngstown, Ohio 1976).

A happy fishy ending

Chesapeake Beach resident Hal Sparks, the former Mount St. Joseph High baseball and wrestling coach during the 1970s, caught a 47-inch rockfish last week that weighed in at 35 pounds.

"He had a 24-inch girth and we couldn't get his head in the net," said Sparks, who was assisted by Boe Rebstock. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime catch."

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