Wooden puts shutout string on line

SIDELINES

April 21, 1995|By PAT O'MALLEY

North County's Mike Wooden has to be his team's stopper at 6:45 p.m. today at Northeast and in the process could set some pitching records.

The No. 2 Knights (7-1) were upset, 6-4, by Glen Burnie (5-3) Wednesday and it will be Wooden's job to prevent a skid. Such challenges are welcomed by the 17-year-old.

"I know what I have to do and am not taking Northeast lightly," said Wooden after his team's first loss.

Northeast (3-7) -- shut out 7-0 Monday by Southern in the Northeast tournament consolation and 8-0 Wednesday by Broadneck -- stands in the way of Wooden's record-setting string of goose eggs.

A check of Wooden's four-year career reveals that his eight-inning, 2-0 shutout of Chesapeake on April 12 was his sixth career shutout, setting a county record and tying the state mark.

Three pitchers had shared the county career record of five -- David Grier of Severna Park (1974-1976), Scott Wharton (1977 and 1978) and Thom Tryon (1982-1984) of Old Mill. Wooden passed them and has tied Scott Frye of Brunswick, who had six from 1990-1992, for the state record.

Wooden (4-0) also has a string of 26 consecutive scoreless innings, about three short of the county and state record of 28 2/3 set by Arundel's Kyle Coffman in 1987.

A shutout tonight would set state records for shutouts, consecutive scoreless innings and most consecutive shutouts. Chesapeake left-hander Bobby Bianco threw a county and state record three consecutive shutouts in 1988.

Wooden, who has not given up an earned run this season, is going for his fourth consecutive shutout. The county and state record for total shutouts in a season is four shared by Bianco (1988), Coffman (1988), Brooklyn Park's Bobby Boyd (1975) and Frank Parreira of Arundel (1976).

With rain in the forecast for today, North County coach Don Usewick said yesterday that Wooden would go Monday at home against No. 14 Broadneck (9-1) if the game against Northeast is postponed.

Front-running North County has three tough games next week, with Broadneck Monday, No. 9 Old Mill (7-3) on Wednesday and No. 16 Severna Park (5-3) on Friday, the latter two games away.

"I was kicking myself last night for not pitching Wooden yesterday [Wednesday against Glen Burnie]," said Usewick, who changed his Wooden/Tweety Barton rotation so the two right-handers would face teams they didn't face the first time around.

The idea was to have Wooden pitch against Old Mill and No. 10 Arundel (6-3) in the next two weeks, two teams that Barton beat. If the Knights are rained out today, Wooden then would pitch against Broadneck and Severna Park and much to Usewick's chagrin, Wooden could have pitched the Glen Burnie game.

Wooden pitched a two-hitter with 14 strikeouts to beat Glen Burnie, 8-0, on April 3.

Around the horn

The Class 4A East Region is developing into quite a race for just four baseball playoff berths among North County, Old Mill, Arundel, Severna Park, Chesapeake, Glen Burnie and lurking in the background, Northern of Calvert County, off to an 8-1 start.

In its 25-11 romp over Meade on Wednesday, No. 10 Arundel scored 14 runs in the third inning after two outs.

Old Mill junior outfielder Chuck Manns had three hits Wednesday in the Patriots' 8-5 loss to Jared Vogt (3-1) and Chesapeake to raise his county-leading batting average to .514 (18-for-35).

The only out Manns made was a shot right at Chesapeake center fielder Matt Michalowicz.

Faceoffs

It's something Annapolis boys lacrosse coach Dan Hart has done before, changing the numbers of his players for some games to confuse scouting reports. Hart did it again Wednesday in his No. 11 Panthers' 8-6 win over No. 7 Arundel and had reporters and fans scrambling to find out who was who on the field.

Maybe it's time for a state rule to disallow such tactics and for players to keep the same number all season.

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