Team Maryland program not a hit with everyone

May 23, 1994|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Staff Writer

Crown All-Star Game and Team Maryland tryouts began yesterday at four sites around the state and survivors travel to the Wicomico County Athletic Complex on the Eastern Shore next Sunday for a full day of doubleheaders.

Final cuts will be made at Wicomico and the Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches will later announce the Crown All-Stars and those who made the Maryland Team scheduled to travel to Oklahoma for a tournament in late June.

The Crown All-Stars will play at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Sunday, June 19 following the Orioles-Minnesota Twins game.

Those selected for the Maryland Team will journey to Oklahoma State for the Sunbelt Classic, a trip that has drawn the ire of a host of 18-and-under baseball coaches and Roger Faw, commissioner of the Baltimore Metro League.

At a recent Metro meeting chaired by Faw, most of the league's coaches voiced their displeasure with Team Maryland and want it to be done away with for the benefit of the summer programs.

"I don't know what purpose Team Maryland serves other than breaking up the summer league," said Faw, who runs arguably the top 18-and-under league in Maryland. "Losing key players for about 10 days can be devastating to a team. It's more of a vacation for the local high school coaches who run it, and all they're doing is hurting the hand that feeds them."

Some of those running the Maryland team along with those staging the event that includes all-star teams from California, Oklahoma and Florida, like to emphasize the opportunities for scholarships and the free agent baseball draft.

"Most kids who are going to get scholarships already have them and going out to Oklahoma while your summer team struggles is not going to get you one that late in the summer," says Faw.

In a press release out of Oklahoma last year, it was pointed out that "of 280 Oklahoma players who have participated in the Classic, 48 have been drafted."

That sounds good, but unfortunately the major-league baseball draft is held weeks before the Classic is ever played. In other words, playing in the Classic has nothing to do with being drafted.

It does indicate the quality of players in the tournament, but players in Maryland can get that locally while helping a team develop and possibly earn a trip to a bona fide national tournament.

Arundel coach Bernie Walter, a charter member of the state coaches association, coaches the Mayo American Legion in the summer and doesn't permit his players to participate on Team Maryland.

"They [fellow coaches] know how I feel about it and aren't happy about my feelings, but it does ruin the continuity of your summer team if a couple guys leave for 10 days," said Walter.

Patterson coach Roger Wrenn, who has been one of the Maryland coaches, says he "understands the way the summer coaches including Bernie feel. And I know that one summer, it totally devastated Marty Meloy's Putty Hill team, but we think that it is a good opportunity."

Certainly it's an opportunity to break up amateur teams that may play 60 summer games, which only make the kids better high school players the following year.

Around the horn

Two of three local defending state champions went down over the weekend in Lansdowne and Glenelg, but top-ranked Arundel is still alive in 4A. Lansdowne dropped its 3A North semifinal to Randallstown, 3-1 while Glenelg lost to Lackey of Charles County, 6-4, in the 2A South.

Arundel (19-2) notched its 17th win in a row with a 2-1 victory over North County in eight innings in the 4A East semifinals and plays host to rival Old Mill (16-5) at 3:45 today for the region title. Old Mill was a 9-2 victor over Severna Park (12-7).

"This is a tough team that doesn't give in," said Walter, after his Wildcats won for the fifth in the last six games in their final at bat.

Jamie Stoddard (6-0) picked up the win in relief for the Wildcats and Walter, who is in his 21st season at Arundel, says Stoddard is "best relief pitcher I've ever seen in the county."

Arundel is seeking a record seventh state championship.

The state semifinals will be played at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harman's tomorrow and the state finals Friday and Saturday at Cannon.

A scoring mistake by MIAA champion Calvert Hall (26-3) has determined that outstanding junior lefty Andy Bair is unbeaten this season at 11-0 and not 10-1. Bair did not get the loss in the first Gilman game was reported.

Calvert Hall came back in the losers' bracket and knocked off McDonogh twice last week by scores of 8-1 and 4-1 to repeat as MIAA A Conference champion to spoil Al Poklemba's swan song.

Poklemba is leaving McDonogh to become athletic director at Bullis Prep in Montgomery County and hopes to go out with a tournament title. He has one more chance this week in the state private schools tournament.

Defending champion Mount St. Joseph (15-10) and McDonogh (18-5) are the only local teams in the Maryland State Private Schools A Tournament set to open today (Monday).

Both local teams play teams from the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC). Seventh seed St. Joe visits No. 2 St. John's of D.C., while No. 4 seed McDonogh is at home vs. No. 5 Good Counsel.

St. John's (24-6) was the WCAC runner-up to DeMatha (25-8), losing the final Saturday, 11-0. DeMatha is not in the tourney.

Good Counsel was 16-6 and boasts the WCAC Player of the Year in pitcher/ centefielder Adrian Muys and the second highest vote getter in shortstop Scott Morrison.

Riverdale Baptist (29-3) is the top seed in the A tournament.

Four metro area teams are playing in the State Private School B tournament, in which only three of the eight teams have winning records. Second-seeded John Carroll at 10-5 is one of three winning teams. District Heights of D. C. is top seed at 21-2.

The other local teams in the B tourney are Cardinal Gibbons (3-18), Boys' Latin (3-12) and Pallotti (6-15) of Laurel.

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