The Baltimore City Middle School Lacrosse League simply wouldn't be the same without Lombard in the championship game.
Coached by former Morgan State athlete Joe Fowlkes, Lombard has reached the final every year in the league's six-year existence. And for the fourth time, Lombard won, defeating Pimlico, 4-2, yesterday in the opening game of the 12th annual Hall of Fame Lacrosse Classic at Homewood Field.
Robert Cheeks scored two goals and Gary Brown and Myron Saunders had one apiece as Lombard built a 4-0 first-half lead and rolled to a successful defense of its championship. Goalie Chester Yeargin had 22 saves.
"We teach them the game, but we also work with them off the field,"said Fowlkes, who played football and lacrosse at Morgan and now works as a police officer in a federal methadone program for heroin addicts. "This is my way of giving something back, creating paths for these boys and giving them discipline."
To play in the 15-team BCMSLL, a boy must pass all his courses and have 90 percent school attendance. Using Baltimore's as a model, similar programs are operating in Hartford, Conn., and Wilmington, N.C.
"This uses lacrosse as a motivator to encourage good grades and class attendance," said Steve Stenersen, executive director the Lacrosse Foundation. "It works."
After four straight defeats, the North finally got its first win in the Old-Timers All-Star Game, crushing the South, 23-8.
Former UMBC star Mark Hahn led the North with five goals and longtime club all-star Chooch Turner had four assists for the South.
The oldest of the 66 players, Charlie Guy, 70, who played for Navy in the mid-1940s, made several cameo appearances.
Nassau Community College's Darin Gallagher and Blake Miller each scored three goals to lead the South to a 14-6 victory over the North in the national Junior College All-Star Game. The South leads the series, 5-1.
Nassau defenseman Kirk Blagrove, who played for the South, was named National JuCo Player of the Year. Paul Wehrum, who directed Herkimer County CC to the national championship, was named Coach of the Year.