South Carroll, F. Scott Key primed for regional semifinals

May 20, 1994|By Bill Free and Glenn P. Graham | Bill Free and Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writers

All the homework is done.

Now it's up to the streaking South Carroll baseball team to go out today and solve the pitching of talented Bethesda-Chevy Chase left-hander Jon Cross.

Cross will take an 8-0 record and 0.96 ERA to the mound against the Cavaliers today at 3:15 at Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the semifinals of the state Class 3A West Regional.

The Francis Scott Key Eagles didn't need to do too much studying about their first-round opponent, Monocacy Valley Athletic League foe Boonsboro, which they will face today at 4:30 in the semifinals of the Class 1A West Regional.

The fourth-seeded Eagles (8-10) split their games against the top-seeded Warriors (13-7) -- losing 7-3 in the first meeting before winning 7-4 later in the season.

"The key to winning will be hitting the pitcher [Cross]," Cavaliers coach Joe Foltz said. "I've seen him pitch. He has a good fastball and curve."

Fourth-seeded South Carroll (14-6) puts a six-game winning streak on the line against top-seeded Bethesda-Chevy Chase (14-2).

If South Carroll can get past BCC, it will meet the winner of today's Thomas Johnson-Paint Branch semifinal in the title game.

"We have nothing to lose," said Foltz. "We're fourth seeded, and we're going over there to gain some respect."

Bethesda-Chevy Chase has four hitters with averages over .353.

Cross, who plays center field when not pitching, leads the team with a .558 average. First baseman Matt Senecal carries a .400 average with 25 RBIs.

BCC coach Bill Wright's son, Donnie, who plays shortstop, has a .396 average, and catcher Ryery Rueda is batting .353.

"We have a little speed to go along with our hitting," said Wright.

Foltz said he won't be surprised by anything he sees today because he scouted BCC against Watkins Mill last Saturday.

He also sent his team through a controlled scrimmage Wednesday against Walkersville.

The Cavaliers have a team batting average of .336 and two outstanding pitchers in right-hander Brad Schulze (4-2 with one save) and left-hander Kile Maxcy (5-3 with two saves).

Schulze, who plays third when not pitching, leads the team in nine offensive and defensive categories, including home runs (four), batting average (.485), RBIs (25) and ERA (1.78).

Catcher Jeremy Hancock and second baseman Brian Herche each have hit three home runs.

Maxcy leads South Carroll in slugging percentage (.698), doubles (nine), innings pitched (43 1/3 ) and fielding percentage (1.000, handled 86 chances without an error). He is second in hitting with a .415 average, has a 2.90 ERA and has struck out 36.

Francis Scott Key has appeared to save its best for last, winning its last three games by a 32-4 margin to gain the fourth seed.

Going into the final week of the regular season, the Eagles needed to knock off Brunswick and Middletown -- teams they lost to earlier in the season -- to stay in the playoff picture. They beat Brunswick, 8-0, at home and then traveled to Middletown and won, 12-0.

"We're playing some super ball right now," said Francis Scott Key coach Bob Caples.

"Boonsboro has a real good ballclub and is well coached. I see it a dead heat. Coming in as the fourth seed is a real advantage for us. We have nothing to lose and some of the teams ahead of us may be looking ahead."

Caples hasn't decided on who he'll throw against Boonsboro. The Key offense is led by Dave Johnson (.394, 17 RBIs) and Matt Haines (.345, 10 RBIs).

The Warriors will send senior Tom Thompson to the mound to face the Eagles. He finished the year at 5-2 with a 1.40 ERA and earned the win against the Eagles in their first meeting.

Junior catcher Willie Sowers leads the Warriors offensively, hitting around .450 with eight homers and 32 RBI. Second baseman Joe Mullinix is hitting .425 in the leadoff spot.

Boonsboro coach Fred Kreiger said he knows any time his team goes up against a MVAL rival, things won't be easy.

"We feel our league is one of the toughest in the state and anyone is capable of beating another. Five out of the 10 teams in our league made the playoffs," he said. ."

Boonsboro scored seven runs in the first inning in its first meeting against Key at Boonsboro, coasting to a 7-3 win.

Later at Key, the Eagles came up with some clutch hitting and solid defense (three double plays) to win, 7-4. Haines drove in four with a single and a double.

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