Ronnie White is typical of every thing that makes the South Carroll baseball team fun to watch.
He plays the game with fervor, is one of the better bench jockeys around, knocks the baseball all over the park on a good day, and loves to confuse hitters with a nasty knuckleball, good curve and decent fastball.
The senior also has been known to make some scintillating catches in center field when he is not pitching.
White dazed the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons last spring when he went racing into right center field and made a diving catch of a line shot that was headed up the alley for a double or triple in the state Class 3A West Region semifinals.
South Carroll went on to win the game and advance to the 3A West finals against Thomas Johnson before losing a 6-5 decision to the Patriots, preventing the Cavaliers from making the states in coach Joe Foltz's farewell season.
That tough loss has lingered in the minds of eight South Carroll seniors who are back to make another run at the state final four.
White is one of those eight players and one of four three-year starters in the lineup, joining Jeremy Hancock, Kile Maxcy and Bryan Herche as the veterans who are driven to make their last go-round something to remember.
"Me, Kile, Jeremy and Bryan have tried to provide leadership this season," said White. "With a new coach [Brad Collins], we've had to get used to doing things differently but I believe we can play with anybody as long as we don't make errors."
Everything else is in order, except the mistakes in the field, White said.
"We're hitting the ball now after a slow start and our pitching has come around," he said of the South Carroll team that finished the regular season 14-6 and ranked ninth in the Baltimore metro area.
White is sailing along with a 4-2 record on the mound, one save and an ERA of 2.16.
One of his two losses was a tough eight-inning, 3-2 setback last week to third-ranked Westminster (17-2). One of his victories was a 7-3 decision over Glenelg, one of only three losses for the fifth-ranked Gladiators.
White and the Cavaliers fans will not forget the loss to the Owls for some time.
The right-hander was still going strong as he headed into the last of the eighth inning in a 2-2 tie. He appeared to be in a good position to get out of the eighth without any damage when he faced No. 8 Westminster hitter Brian Tozer with the bases loaded and two outs.
White broke off a nifty curve for strike one, came back with the same pitch for what he thought was strike two but it was called a ball, and his third pitch to Tozer also was very close to the plate but went for a ball.
Down 2-1 on the count, White came in with a fastball and Tozer hit a shot to deep center field that won the game for Westminster. Cavaliers center fielder Zach Hollman raced far back after the Tozer drive and stuck out his glove but the ball bounced off the fingers of the glove.
"I was pretty upset," said White of the calls that went against him. "But I learned from it and now I keep my cool. I was throwing the ball pretty good in the eighth against Westminster but I was hurrying too much out there."
At the plate, White has been streaky and was hitting .283 as the Cavaliers awaited the start of the 3A West Regional playoffs next week. South Carroll is currently third in points behind Paint Branch and Thomas Johnson.
White has one home run, has scored 11 runs, and has six RBIs, one triple and two doubles.
Last season, he was a first-team All-Carroll County outfielder with a .340 average, one home run, four doubles, three triples and 14 RBIs.
Collins said White sometimes has been misunderstood by opponents because of his intensity and biting chatter during a game.
"Some people think he is trying to be mean and nasty," said Collins. "But he is just so focused and into the game that he comes off as being angry but he is not. Ronnie is one of the finest kids I've ever been around. He is very opinionated but listens."