North County leads wild race in 4A East


April 28, 1995|By PAT O'MALLEY

What a race!

It's getting crazy in the 4A East Region for baseball, and the way things are going playoff berths may not be decided until the final games of the season.

No. 3 North County continues to lead the pack of seven teams in the race for four postseason berths. The Knights are 10-1, including Wednesday's 4-2 victory at No. 12 Old Mill.

But staying on top will not be easy for the Knights.

"We're finding that more teams are ready to play us and want to smash us because we're on top," said North County ace Mike Wooden.

Coach Don Usewick pointed to his team's composure under pressure as one of the main reasons for the club's fast start.

"They're loose; focused but really loose. I'm the one doing all the worrying," said Usewick.

Joining Usewick in worrying are several other teams that understand that at least two very good teams will be left out of the playoffs.

Old Mill (8-5 overall) is one of three 4A teams in the region that are 7-4 in games that count toward the postseason (tournament games do not). No. 14 Severna Park (7-4) and Chesapeake (9-4) are the other two.

No. 8 Arundel (9-4) and No. 19 Glen Burnie (8-3) are at 8-3 after the Gophers' 3-2 victory over Arundel Wednesday.

Also in the equation is Northern of Calvert County. The Patriots are 10-2 after losing to defending 3A state champion Thomas Stone this week. Northern's other loss was to DeMatha and, because of their predominantly 2A-3A schedule, the Patriots can't afford more than another loss or two.

Anne Arundel teams play more 4A teams, which means more playoff points (eight for 4A, seven for 3A, six for 2A) per victory. Next year, all this suspense will be history because of the state's open-tournament format that will allow everybody in the playoffs, regardless of record.

Today's schedule involving the contending 4A teams finds North County at Severna Park, where the Falcons can light it up with their short fences. Arundel visits No. 11 Broadneck (11-2, 9-2), the 3A East team to beat, while Glen Burnie travels to 2A South River (5-8).

Chesapeake will be at Meade (2-11) and Old Mill will play at Annapolis (2-11).

Around the horn

North County catcher Steve Tomshack, who has three hits in each of his last two games, contributed two triples in Monday's 9-6 victory over North County to tie the state single-game record shared by several players.

Last spring, Tomshack tied the state single-game record for homers (three), also shared by several other players.

Tomshack was an All-County linebacker on the Knights' 4A state

championship football team and hopes to close his senior year with a state championship in baseball.

A converted infielder, he has established himself as the county's top catcher, and has become a team leader, as was the case in football.

* Severna Park's left-handed-hitting outfielder, Matt Griswold, hit two homers Wednesday night at Harry Lentz Jr. Field in the Falcons' 8-7 win over Northeast (3-10).

One of the Griswold home runs cleared the fence to the left of the No. 16 (in honor of the late Lentz) on the black tarp that drapes the fence. It was one of the longest-ever homers at the school.

Griswold is mulling over scholarship offers from Virginia Tech, Clemson and East Tennessee State.

* Channel 2-TV's Keith Mills, a second baseman at Brooklyn Park High in the mid-70s, ran highlights of North County's 4-2 win at Old Mill win on Wednesday and was impressed with what he saw of Old Mill center fielder Joe Barnes.

"We got Joe's double in the sixth inning, and what bat speed he has," said Mills, who showed one of two diving catches by Old Mill left fielder Chuck Manns on the highlights.

Barnes and Manns are juniors.

Tour de Terp

The District V Terrapin Club will hold a spring outing at Bohager's in Baltimore as part of the Tour de Terp.

It's a chance to meet such Maryland coaches as Gary Williams (men's basketball), Mark Duffner (football), Chris Weller (women's basketball) and athletic director Debbie Yow.

For more information and tickets call Tom Conley, (410) 355-5271.

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