1996 All-Howard County baseball team

June 06, 1996|By Rick Belz

Player of the Year

Ben Gugliotta, Glenelg, senior, pitcher: Gugliotta worked last summer on developing a slider to use as his strikeout pitch. The effort paid off, as the right-hander went 7-1 with a 2.69 earned-run average. He fanned 50 and walked 13 in 52 innings, and threw a no-hitter against Fairmont Heights in the state playoffs. Gugliotta, 6 feet 1, 190 pounds, batted .443 (35-for-79) with six doubles, three triples, five home runs and a school-record 43 RBI. He led the county in home runs, RBIs and pitching wins. Defensively, he played every position but center field. Glenelg failed to repeat as county or state champions during his senior year, but posted an 18-6 record and was 39-9 for the past two seasons. This is Gugliotta's second selection to the first team. "He's a quiet competitor who knows the game, is patient at the plate and hits to all fields," Glenelg coach Ed Ashwell said. "And he pitches with good velocity." Gugliotta will play for Furman University in South Carolina.

Coach of the Year

Kevin Kelly, Atholton: If something could go wrong for Kelly, it usually did, starting with the department of education's failure to get Atholton's infield resodded, a situation that stripped the Raiders of their home field and made them take infield practice on blacktop all season. Then there was the day before the regional semifinal against Centennial when construction workers removed a snow fence surrounding the outfield at Wilde Lake, Atholton's temporary home field. The workers left three dozen or more 40-pound cinder blocks sitting in the outfield. Kelly, who is about 5 feet 8, had to remove the blocks himself during his lunch hour. "Afterward I looked like a dish rag wearing a dress shirt," he said. For the regional finals at Broadneck the Raiders received a bus that couldn't go over 40 mph, and the replacement bus wouldn't start at first. But the Raiders and Kelly survived all that, and barely missed winning their first state title, losing in the state finals to Bel Air, 3-2. They did capture the county championship, a major feat for a team that started the season with untested starting pitching and no proven power hitting. Sophomore right-hander Doug Airel and junior left-hander Chris Russ developed quickly, however, and Sean Williams, Jason Sandner and Travis Devine proved ample power hitting to lift the Raiders (18-5) above their county competition.

The first team

Doug Airel, Atholton, sophomore, pitcher: Airel was one of the keys to Atholton's championship season. He two-hit Centennial in the regional semifinal, and also notched a key 9-3 victory over Glenelg, the county runner-up. That win broke a five-game Atholton losing streak to Glenelg. Airel was 6-1 with a 2.56 ERA. In 54 2/3 innings he struck out 56, walked 39 and allowed 38 hits.

Robin Davis, Glenelg, senior, outfield: Davis came on strong the second half of the season and led the league in triples (seven) and extra-base hits (18), and tied for the lead in home runs (five). He batted .457 (32-for-79) with six doubles and scored 23 runs. He'll play for Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Travis Devine, Atholton, senior, catcher: Devine provided power and defense. He batted .463 (37-for-80) with nine doubles, two triples, four home runs and 36 RBIs. His on-base average was .534 and slugging percentage .775. He threw out 20 of 43 would-be base stealers, including two in the state semifinals against Westlake, a team that had stolen successfully on 46 of 56 attempts. He's on his way to Elon.

Randy Gaigler, Mount Hebron, senior, third base: Gaigler batted .373 (19- for-47) with seven doubles, one home run and 15 RBIs. A solid defensive player with a strong arm, Gaigler was also Mount Hebron's closer, as the Vikings (14-6 overall, 9-4 league) produced one of their best seasons in recent years. He's headed to Elon.

Tony Jackson, Wilde Lake, junior, outfield: Jackson was the most feared hitter in the league, drawing 21 walks, nine of them intentional. He batted .458 (22-for-48) with two triples, five home runs and 21 RBIs. He stole 13 bases in 14 attempts. His speed, arm and size will make him a prime Division I recruit.

Larry Long, Howard, senior, outfield: His impressive speed and strong arm are two reasons he'll play for Maryland next season. ** Long batted .431 (25-for-58) with four doubles, four home runs and 16 RBIs. He led the league by stealing 23 bases in 25 attempts.

Ryan Malone, Howard, senior, first base: Malone batted .439 (25-for-57) with seven doubles, four triples, three home runs and 21 RBIs. He'll play for Catonsville Community College next season.

Dennis Pagel, Glenelg, senior, pitcher: Pagel was 6-2 with a 3.70 earned-run average. In 47 innings he struck out 54 and walked 18. He retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced in a late-season game against Mount Hebron that pulled the Gladiators within a game of first-place Atholton. Pagel is a two-time first-team selection with a 13-2 career record. He is headed to Salisbury State in the fall.

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