1998 Baseball And Softball Previews

March 20, 1998|By Pat O'Malley

A. Arundel baseball

Annapolis Panthers

1997 record: 4-17

Coach: Larry Brogden

Top players: Mark Jarashow, Sr., RHP; Bill Wilson, Jr., John Fontanella, Jr., RHP; Andrew Muir, Sr., OF; Joe Plattner, Sr., 3B-1B; Jesse Stubbs, Sr., C; Phil Gerrior, Sr., OF.

Outlook: Pitching always has been a weakness at Annapolis, save for the 1988 season, when metro Player of the Year Kevin Alarie pitched the Panthers to a state title. That was the Panthers' last winning season. Brogden is not predicting a state title, but there are chances of vast improvement because "our pitching should be stronger than in the past." Couple an improved staff with a good defense, and the Panthers should be competitive. Brogden is concerned about his hitting but is counting on big things from the power-hitting Plattner. Sophomores Joe Feldman (RHP/OF) and Mike Stanley (3B-1B) add depth.

Annapolis Area Christian Eagles

1997 record: 2-12

Coach: Greg Whitley

Top players: Greg Wheeler, So., RHP; Adam Bedell, Fr., 3B/RHP; Ryan Bedell, Jr., 2B; Thomas Wear, So., SS; Andrew Whitley, Fr., OF/2B; Jon Rossetti, Fr., OF.

Outlook: With no seniors and only three juniors, the word "young" is a good fit for the Eagles in their inaugural season in the MIAA B conference. First-year coach Whitley, whose experience is with the Annapolis Optimist summer team, has eight freshmen, and Wheeler, his top pitcher, is a 10th-grader. "We expect to be very competitive in a couple years," said Whitley.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1997 record: 9-12

Coach: Dave Lanham

Top players: Brendan Mannix, Sr., SS; Ray Sauser, Sr., RHP; Jim McKusky, Sr., LHP: Mike Wallace, Sr., RHP; Ryan Collins, Jr., RHP; Mike Shires, So., 3B-1B; Al Creveling, Sr., C; Sam Creveling, Jr., CF; Deeshan Marfani, So., 2B.

Outlook: Lanham, whose only coaching experience was as the Cavs' JV coach last season, is the county's youngest coach at age 23. A former middle infielder at Glen Burnie and Pfeiffer (N.C.) College, Lanham feels his team "will be as good as our pitching is." To compete in the MIAA A Conference, pitching will be a necessity. Switch-hitting SS Mannix, who Lanham calls "the real deal," is a four-year player expected to be the leader.

Arundel Wildcats

1997 record: 18-5

Coach: Bernie Walter

Top players: Tom Ogilvie, Sr., C; Hector Guadalupe, Sr., SS; Norris Roy, Jr., 2B -3B; George Lettis, Sr., 1B; John McCurdy, Jr., INF; Kurt Podrazik, So., 3B; Justin Bell, Sr., LHP; Bryan Frostbutter, RHP/INF; Austin Decker, Sr., RHP/OF; Todd Heron, Sr., CF; Tony Tiani, Sr., LF; Brian Puglise, Fr., C.

Outlook: The Wildcats have potentially the top defensive team in the metro area, especially up the middle with returning All-County catcher Ogilvie, who picked off eight runners last spring, and they're going to score runs. Bell, a second team All-County lefty, heads up a staff of "good arms," in the words of Walter. Walter begins his 25th season in Gambrills as the county's all-time winningest coach at 407-113 (.783), including a record seven state titles and chances for what would be a fourth state crown during the 1990s ride on those arms. Bell, Frostbutter and Decker are the senior arms being pushed by junior right-handers Andy Kostic, Dave Stallings and Matt Tucker, and junior lefty Starr Kriger. With pro-prospect Guadalupe, a Riverdale Baptist transfer, and Roy anchoring the middle infield and Heron in center, the idea is to make the other team hit the ball. Ogilvie, who batted .330 with 30 RBIs, will be in the middle of the order, and other offensive pop should come from Guadalupe (.344, 25 runs, 20 RBIs, 25 SBs, four HRs), Roy (.373, 27 runs, 17 SBs second team All-County 3B as soph) and Heron.

Broadneck Bruins

1997 record: 13-9

Coach: Mark Stover

Top players: Brooks Barnard, Sr., RHP/OF; Justin Gossman, Sr., OF; Mike Swick, Sr., LHP; Brett Steele, Jr., SS; Dave Lazzari, Jr., RHP/OF; Dan Burke, Jr., C-DH -1B.

Outlook: Barnard returns after an All-County junior season in which he batted .411 with a county record-tying six triples. He also was 3-3 on the mound with an ERA of 2.34 in 50 innings. Barnard is one of only four seniors, but most of the juniors played as sophs. "Barnard and Swick give us a solid 1-2 pitching punch and our defense should be fine," said Stover (156-106, 13 seasons) who led the Bruins to the Class 3A state title in 1995.

Chesapeake Cougars

1997 record: 19-5, Class 4A state champs

Coach: Jim Simms

Top players: Ray Wagner, Sr., RHP/1B; Dave Dolch, Sr., RHP/1B; Adam Moore, Jr., RHP/1B; Len Switela, Jr., C.

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