Area teams should do well in regional tournaments

May 16, 1994|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Staff Writer

We're into the fun time of the high school baseball season where we separate the men from the boys as the coaches like to say.

It's playoff time and the Baltimore metro area should be well represented when it comes to regional winners. That's if our host of local teams with a shot at the final four in their respective classifications play the way they have played.

Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) Regionals will be played Friday and Saturday with the state semis and finals the following Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans of Anne Arundel County.

The four-year-old Cannon Stadium is the site of the state finals for the first time after a long run at McCurdy Field in Frederick. After observing the dust-bowl-like conditions at McCurdy last spring, it was obvious a change was in order.

In Class 4A, No. 1 Arundel (18-2) and No. 5 Perry Hall (16-2) rank as favorites in the East and North regions while No. 6 Dundalk (17-1) is certainly the team to beat in the 3A North and the 3A East should come down to the pitching of No. 9 Centennial (16-2) and No. 12 Broadneck (13-6).

No. 7 Lansdowne (14-4) is the defending state 3A champion but lost to Perry Hall, 7-2, last week while Dundalk knocked off Perry Hall, 6-3. A Dundalk-Lansdowne 3A North final is likely.

Centennial boasts two superb high school pitchers in Dave Hudson and Kurt Weitzel and Broadneck ace Sean Ryan is 8-3.

No. 20 Edgewood (12-4) is a contender in the 2A North and Southern of Harwood is a team to watch in the 2A East while Class 1A is wide open and may not have a representative from our area in the final four.

Southern is 9-8 with 6-foot-4 senior right-hander Troy O'Connor (9-3) getting all of the Bulldogs wins to put them in the playoffs for the first time since 1977. O'Connor leads Anne Arundel in strikeouts with 102 and boasts a 1.90 ERA.

The Dawgs missed the postseason last year by a game losing out to Northeast, and ironically enough defeated the latter 4-1 Friday on an O'Connor three-hitter to make it this year.

A pitcher/hitter by the name of Dale Castro was the big gun for the Dawgs back in 1977 when they last qualified. Castro received a partial scholarship to the University of Maryland for baseball but later made the football team of Jerry Claiborne as a walk-on.

Castro became an All-America place kicker/punter and had a zTC tryout with the Dallas Cowboys.

This Southern team is on a mission. Coach Chuck Crandell has a group of seniors who are committed to going out with a big trophy. Two of the catalysts are Wayne Small and Corey Contee, who led the Dawgs into the state Class 2A football final.

Contee, an All-Metro defensive back in football, was also a key member of the school's basketball playoff team.

The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association playoffs are winding down with McDonogh in the driver's seat going into this week. Coach Al Poklemba's "don't get too familiar" philosophy has the No. 3 Eagles (18-3) needing only one win take the A Conference championship they last won in 1992.

Junior right-hander Mike Ginsberg scattered eight hits and struck out nine to knock off defending champion and No. 2 Calvert Hall (24-3) Friday, 10-5, to advance to Wednesday's MIAA finals.

The Hall and No. 8 Mount St. Joe (15-8), an 8-1 victor over No. 11 Gilman (14-6), meet today with the survivor of the double-elimination tournament having to beat McDonogh twice. The "if necessary" game would be Thursday.

In '92 Poklemba did not pitch two-year All-Metro pitcher Kenny Cloude, who later signed a bonus contract with the Seattle Mariners, until the playoffs vs. Calvert Hall. Cloude stunned heavily favored Calvert Hall in the final.

McDonogh lost both regular-season games to the Cardinals and left-hander Andy Bair, but Friday was the first time they saw Ginsberg.

"It's no coincidence,"' said Poklemba, who is rumored to be leaving McDonogh.

Around the horn

Coaches hope to take their clubs into postseason with momentum, but in the case of Bernie Walter's Arundel Wildcats, that's an understatement. Arundel won four of its last five regular-season games in its final at bat.

In contrast, defending State 2A champion Glenelg has struggled due to an extraordinary rash of injuries to key players: Brian Boteler (blown knee), Kevin Curtin (dislocated shoulder), Mike Goldberg (back), Craig Hooker (spike wound to leg), Mike Deming and Sean Lookingbill (sore arms). Gladiator coach Terry Coleman has the first All-Medical Team.

Thomas Johnson (16-4), coached by ex-Mount St. Joe All-Metro shortstop Jimmy Foit, is a team that either Dundalk or Lansdowne could see in the 3A final four. That's if T.J. gets by Paint Branch (15-4) ace Curtis Brown, who is headed to Richmond on a baseball scholarship, on Friday. Mike Anders is the Patriots' ace and boasts an 8-0 record with five shutouts, a 1.23 ERA, 80 strikeouts in 57 innings and only nine walks.

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