1997 Baseball preview

March 23, 1997|By Lem Satterfield

Carver Bears

1996 record: 7-5. Coach: Terry Thomas

Top players: Clarence Knox, Sr., CF; George Spencer, Jr., P-C-3B; Ronald Hawkins, Jr., C; Michael Mitchell, Fr., 1B-P; Sidney Millner, Fr., LF; Hosea Davis, Fr., IF-P.

Outlook: Thomas had a pleasant turnout of 22 players, including several experienced freshmen, eventually paring the team down 17. "We only have two starters back, so we'll go as far as our freshmen take us," Thomas said.

City Knights

1996 record: 8-6. Coach: Bill Walker.

Top players: Mike Scarcella, Sr., P; Michael Johnson, Sr., 1B-C; Adam Holowell, Sr., SS; Henry Odom, Jr., OF; Aaron Smith, Jr., 2B.

Outlook: The Knights return five starters, including Scarcella, whose 6-1 career record includes a 3-0 mark last year and a perfect game as a sophomore.

Curley Friars

1996 record: 11-10. Coach: Al Frank

Top players: Keith McGhee, Sr., C; Jamie Cruz, Sr., 2B; Jason Murphy, Sr., SS.

Outlook: The Friars return five starters, but also lost a lot of experience from last year's squad, which reached the playoffs for the first time in five seasons. "All but one of our pitchers are underclassmen," said Frank.

Douglass Ducks

1996 record: 2-12. Coach: Bernie White.

Top players: Mike Kelly, Sr., 2B; Octavious Little, Sr., C.

Outlook: With just two starters returning, White is concentrating on teaching the basics and improving on last year -- which is a strong possibility.

Dunbar Poets

1996 record: 8-6. Coach: Caesar Forcellese.

Top players: Ali Culpepper, Sr., CF; Jamel Jones, Sr., 2B; Nicholas Nelson, Sr., SS-P; Isaiah Carter, Sr., P; Kellen Wallace, Jr., CF-P; Ivan Williams, Jr., C; Curtis Willis, Jr., 1B; Sheldon McDonald, So., P-3B.

Outlook: Already returning seven starters, first-year coach Forcellese got a pleasant surprise when Culpepper, a two-time All-Metro football player, decided to come out. "He can play some, and I've got some good speed and pitching," said Forcellese. Wallace is the ace while Nelson and Jones are each three-year starters.

Edmondson Redskins

1996 record: 8-8. Coach: Tai Thompson

Top players: Donte Street, Sr., C-P; Desmond Stewart, Sr., P-1B; Dario Davis, Jr., 1B-P; David Bass, Jr., C-P-SS; Antonio Demory, Jr., CF-3B; Carl Welch, So., P-2B; Charles Byrd, So., 2B-OF.

Outlook: Thompson is extremely enthusiastic about this squad, which returns seven starters from a team that lost, 4-2, to eventual 3A state runner-up Atholton near season's end.

Forest Park Foresters

1996 record: 1-10. Coach: Laney Prioleau

Top players: James Warren, Sr., IF-P; Terry Evans, Sr., P-IF; Aaron Johnson, Jr., P-1B; Akil Aziz, So., IF.

Outlook: Evans is a four-year starter around whom Prioleau hopes to build the Foresters' improvement over last season. "We finished up OK last year. And this year, we should be better defensively," said Prioleau.

Friends Quakers

1996 record: 8-8. Coach: Tom Randall.

Top players: Zack Bryant, Sr., P-OF; Jon Yeager, Sr., P-3B; Dan Munoz, Sr., C; Paul Mason, Sr., P-1B; John Fessenden, Jr., P.

Outlook: With eight returning starters, a five-man pitching rotation and two-time MIAA B Conference champ St. Paul's moving up to the A Conference, watch out for the Quakers, who could be the favorite to win the league and tournament crowns this season.

Gibbons Crusaders

1996 record: 4-16. Coach: Joe DiBlasi

Top players: Chris Hoffman, Sr., SS; R. J. Scott, Jr., P-C; Matt Gilbert, Jr., P-C; Nick Hoffman, So., 2B.

Outlook: First-year coach DiBlasi takes over for longtime coach Rod Cameron. "Only two seniors will be playing," DiBlasi said. "We've got some pitching, but we'll have to hustle, get our bats on the ball, manufacture runs."

Gilman Greyhounds

1996 record: 18-4. Coach: Marty Meloy

Top players: Adam Heaps, Sr., CF; Josh Hrbeniak, Sr., 3B; Frank McHenry, Sr., 2B-P; Bobby Moran, Sr., OF; Nick Funk, Jr., P.

Outlook: The Greyhounds are coming off a school-record victory total and are defending MIAA A Conference champs. They return two quality pitchers among five starters in Funk (4-0) and McHenry (3-1), but All-City/County Heaps is rehabbing from a shoulder injury that may have him out for at least another week.

Lake Clifton Lakers

1996 record: 6-8. Coach: Carroll Williams

Top players: Jamal McNeil, Sr., CF; Sean Williams, Sr., 2B; Joe Able, Jr., SS; Maseo Young, Jr., C; Robert Carrothers, Jr., LF.

Outlook: Williams, in his first season, had 43 players to work with. "It's a wait-and-see situation, but I think we'll be competitive," Williams said.

Mervo Mustangs

1996 record: 11-3. Coach: Andy Corbett

Top players: Craig Coombs, Sr., CF; Kevin Davis, Sr., SS; Dennis Bailey, Jr., 2B-C; Tim Owens, Jr., P-1B; Rudy Logan, Jr., C.

Outlook: Coming off an excellent year, the Mustangs return six starters. Coombs hit .659 with 16 RBIs, 24 stolen bases and 28 runs. Davis hit .622 with 30 RBIs and scored 24 runs. Owens was 4-0 on the mound, and Davis was 2-1.

Mount St. Joseph Gaels

1996 record: 28-6. Coach: Dave Norton

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