General Die takes perfect record into regionals

July 31, 1996|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Shane Rhodes wasn't sure what his role would be when he joined General Die's 16-and-under baseball team last season. So, the left-hander from Monkton defined it himself by claiming Most Valuable Player honors and leading his team to a national title at the American Amateur Baseball Congress World Series.

One year later, Rhodes, a 16-year-old senior at Calvert Hall, has solidified his position as General Die's ace. His 12-0 mark is one of the reasons his team's repeat hopes are still alive.

The defending national champs enter tomorrow's opening round of the AABC regional tournament in Albany, N.Y., sporting a 48-0 record. More impressively, the Dundalk-based team is coming off a three-game sweep of the AABC state championships that included a no-hitter by Rhodes and one-hitters from teammates Drew Borland and Joey Popovich.

"We have just as good of a team, if not better, than we did last year, but there's more pressure because we're expected to do well," said Rhodes, who is 24-0 in two seasons with General Die. "We have some pride and we have the confidence that we can win it."

If General Die wins in Albany it will advance to next month's World Series in McKinney, Texas. Dale Berkey leads the team with a .458 average, followed closely by Mike Jenkins (.448). Bret Holmes is the team's RBI leader with 62 and Mike Waldt, nephew of head coach Ric Waldt, leads the squad with 11 homers.

"We've gone through the season pretty much uncontested and they are really looking forward to the challenge," said Ric Waldt, an Orioles scout who founded the team three years ago. "They rose their game a level at states and they seem to be peaking at the right time."

General Die's 18-and-under team, which is 42-3 and features a number of players from last year's national champion team, leaves today for a regional competition in Long Island, N.Y. A win there would catapult the first-year team into the AABC 18-and-under World Series, Aug. 8-13 in Farmington, N.M.

Bill Greenwell from Bel Air High is batting .426 and Jeff Brooks leads the squad with 12 home runs.

Pub Date: 7/31/96

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