COACH OF THE YEAR
* Joe Foltz, South Carroll -- This quiet man of high school baseball in Carroll County came within one run of taking South Carroll to the state 3A tournament, winning seven in a row down the stretch before being ousted in the 3A West Regional final, 6-5, by Thomas Johnson. A trip to the Final Four would have been fitting for Foltz in his final season at South Carroll after seven outstanding years. The Cavaliers finished 15-7 and have plenty of talent back next year. The only problem is that Foltz won't be around to coach that team because there is no teaching position for him at South Carroll. In seven years, Foltz has coached such standouts as Joey Goodwin (now at George Mason), Steve Schulze (a standout sophomore pitcher for Virginia Tech this season before hurting his arm) and Brad Schulze (The Player of the Year in Carroll County this season). Foltz will be missed at South Carroll, not only for his coaching but for his dedication to keeping the baseball field in top condition and providing expansive statistics on his players.
THE FIRST TEAM AT A GLANCE
* Lawrence Alvarez, Westminster, Sr., catcher -- Every coach's dream is to find an excellent defensive catcher who can hit. "Peanut" Alvarez was the answer to those dreams for Owls' co-coaches Carl Rihard and Guy Stull. Alvarez hit .354, had 11 RBIs and threw out nine runners trying to steal against his strong right arm. "We were pretty fortunate to have a guy like Peanut hitting .354 for us in the No. 6 and No. 7 positions in our order," said Rihard. "He came back strong from a hernia operation that caused him to miss our opening game." On a team that faltered sometimes on defense, Alvarez was a model of consistency behind the plate for a 9-9 Westminster squad that shared the Carroll County championship with South Carroll (both 5-1).
* Tim Beck, South Carroll, Sr., shortstop -- This smooth-fielding shortstop also could make things happen with a bat in his hands at the top of the order for South Carroll (15-7 and trip to 3A West Region finals). He hit .333, stole five of five bases, had five triples, drew 10 walks and had 18 RBIs. Beck and Carroll County Player of the Year Brad Schulze had green lights to steal whenever they wanted. Beck wound up his two-year career with a school-record nine triples and is a repeat first-team choice on the All-Carroll County squad. In addition to his nine career triples, Beck had four home runs and eight doubles in two seasons. Beck, Schulze, Kile Maxcy and Jeremy Hancock were the first four hitters, respectively, in the South Carroll lineup and often struck fear into the hearts of opponents.
* Josh Gursky, Liberty, Sr., first base -- Once this talented first baseman relaxed and stopped trying to carry all the load for the struggling Lions (6-10), he came on like wild fire down the stretch to finish with a .270 batting average. But most coaches in the county didn't really care how much Gursky hit this season. They were so impressed with his fielding and leadership that they felt he deserved a first-team berth. "I got more aggressive at the plate after getting off to a horrendous start," said Gursky. "I was taking good pitches and swinging at bad ones early in the season. I guess I felt the pressure to hit a lot since we weren't doing too good. Then I realized I couldn't let the pressure bother me." Gursky, who was chosen Boys Soccer Player of the Year in Carroll County and was an excellent forward on the basketball team, just might be the top all-around athlete in the county this school year.
* Jeremy Hancock, South Carroll, Jr., designated hitter -- No one who witnessed Hancock's long home run to center field at North Carroll this season soon will forget that drive. It was hit so hard and so far that Panthers center fielder Art Crouse didn't even bother to move. Crouse just turned his head a little and watched the ball fly over the fence. Hancock has an excellent future with the bat. He hit .394, had three home runs, 22 RBIs and a .610 slugging percentage. He was scheduled to play third base but volunteered to catch when junior catcher Greg Mihalko decided not to play baseball this season. There were some growing pains behind the plate, but Hancock never let it interfere with his hitting.
* B.J. Hanley, Westminster, Jr., outfield -- This transfer from Northern California arrived in school in March and became one of the most popular players on the team. He also proved he could hit the ball fairly well (.306 average) and showed some power (three home runs, four doubles and a triple). Originally, Hanley wasn't planning to transfer until the start of his senior year, but he called Westminster co-coach Carl Rihard in March and asked if his chances of playing as a senior would be enhanced if he played his junior year. When Rihard said yes, Hanley decided to make the move immediately. He will play football for the Owls his senior year, most likely as a linebacker.