Light, Arundel thinking repeat Sending a message: Right-hander's 3-hitter serves notice that Wildcats want to keep state crown.

April 21, 1996|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

When Arundel coach Bernie Walter needs to win a big game, he turns to Kurt Light.

All-Metro as a sophomore last spring, Light was 8-1, including victories in the region and state finals. He fired a four-hitter with seven strikeouts to blank Perry Hall in the 4A final at Joe Cannon Stadium.

Off to a 3-1 start with one save, Light has picked up where he left off. Wednesday of this week, his three-hitter paced an 8-0 victory over top-ranked Old Mill (10-1) and served notice that Light and the No. 2 Wildcats (11-2) are not ready to give up their state crown.

"That's our goal, to win it again," says Light.

A 6-foot-1, 175-pound right-hander who throws everything hard from start to finish and relies mainly on a fastball, slider and changeup, Light admittedly did not have his best stuff Wednesday.

Walter called it "a gutty performance against a really good hitting team."

To say Light is a competitor is an understatement. Opposing batters are careful to dig in because they know Light is not going to give an inch.

"Kurt has learned how to pitch and how to win the big games. Old Mill was a big game," said Walter, who helped Light develop a nasty slider that might be the best among the area's high school pitchers.

The 17-year-old Light commuted to Arundel from Essex his first two years at the Gambrills school with his parents, Tom and Donna Light, paying tuition for him to do so. This past September, the family moved to Crofton in the Arundel school district and it has made things a whole lot easier.

Light's success in high school and with his summer team has already taken him to Australia and has set up a busy summer that will have him pitching from coast to coast and in between.

After striking out 64 in 64 innings and posting a 1.92 ERA in 1995, Light followed up his first varsity season by going 13-2 for Gunther's 18-and-under national champion in the Continental Amateur Baseball Association (CABA) World Series.

In the CABA Nationals in Fort Wayne, Ind., Light was 3-0 after going 1-1 with an ERA of 2.20 in the High School Eligible World Series in Cleveland, Ohio.

Drawing the attention of pro and college scouts, Light was the only pitcher from the East named to the United States team for the Goodwill Games in Australia in December. So impressive was he that he has been invited to the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif., in mid-August. That showcase event is reserved for the nation's blue-chip high school players.

"Most of the players on our team in Australia were from California, but our players are as good back here," said Light.

"I got a lot of exposure, and that's the main thing."

Exposure is what he will get this summer while keeping his bags packed from June to August. He first takes off for Yale University in Connecticut in late June to participate in the region tryouts for the Area Code Games.

"Kurt was impressive in Australia, and we think a lot of him," said Bob Williams, of Long Beach, the president and coach of the Goodwill Series.

In July, Light will travel to Clemson (S.C.) University for the Team One Regional Showcase, July 19-21, and then join Gunther's in Cleveland for the High School Eligible World Series. Light will also pitch in at least one other national tournament for Gunther's.

Such national powers as Clemson, N.C. State, Georgia Tech, Arizona State and Minnesota, and a host of others, are interested in him. Clemson, the perennial Atlantic Coast Conference champion and visitor to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., is averaging a letter a week to Light, who carries a 2.3 grade-point average and scored 1,070 on his SAT.

"It's my goal to take my pitching skills to the next level and to always give 100 percent effort," said Light.

Pub Date: 4/21/96

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