1998 Baseball And Softball Previews

March 20, 1998|By Rick Belz

Howard baseball

Atholton Raiders

1997 record: 15-6 overall, 14-4 league

Coach: Kevin Kelly

Top players: Ryan Lambert, Sr. OF; Ryan Schulz, Sr., OF/P, Wade Zancan, Sr., OF; Doug Airel, Sr., P; Matt Martiny, Sr., 1B/P; Ryan Oleszewski, Sr., C/DH.

Outlook: Heavy losses to graduation, including two All-Metro players, left the Raiders rebuilding. The biggest question mark is at catcher, where sophomore Bryan Trigger and Oleschewski are competing. Airel, 12-3 over the past two seasons, must take on greater responsibility in his new role as the No. 1 starter. And the Raiders will need a hefty contribution from younger players such as Nick Hartman and Steve Gluth, Seth Williams and Adam Beaver. Atholton has a talented senior outfield of Lambert, Schulz and Zancan. Zancan batted .338 with 29 RBIs. "They can all run, and Lambert has a great arm, but the outfield must play well for us to be successful," Kelly said. The Raiders, tri-champs with Mount Hebron and Centennial last season, have won

back-to-back county titles.

Centennial Eagles

1997 record: 19-6 overall, 14-4 league

Coach: Ron Martin

Top players: Matt Deuchler, Jr., C/OF; Nate Ochsner, Soph., P/OF; Chris Tiedermann, Jr., P/2B; Mike Martin, Jr., SS; Pat Conners, Jr., C/OF; Jamie McDonald, Sr., 1B; Matt Eller, Sr., 3B; Brian Barwick, Soph., OF; Pat Lee, Sr., OF; Shawn Cudzilo, Jr., DH/OF; Steve Frederick, Jr., SS/P.

Outlook: "Since we tied for first place last season we're real happy about our chances this season," Martin said. "All but two ** team members played Metro League ball last summer. We have two proven pitchers [Ochsner and Tiedermann], and I'm pleased with the way Frederick is throwing. And we have nine guys who can hit. We should be in the county hunt." Ochsner was 7-1 with a 1.72 ERA. Tiedermann was 2-2 with a 1.48 ERA. Deuchler batted .417 with 23 RBIs. Conners batted .376 with 34 RBIs. Eller batted .373. Martin hit .341. And Tiedermann batted .347.

Chapelgate Christian Flames

1997 record: 12-4 overall, 8-0 league

Coach: Bunk Nolan

Top players: Jeremy Nolan, Sr., P/OF; Chris Davidson, Jr., P/SS; Chris Cox, Sr., P/C; Mark Dever, Jr., OF/C; Toby Sumpter, Sr., 3B; John Christensen, Sr., 2B; Kyle Johnson, Jr., P/OF; Dan Bird, Sr., 1B.

Outlook: The Flames won the Christian Schools Athletic Association title for the second straight season and are now a member of the MIAA. Although they are stepping up in class, their outlook remains strong because they have a seasoned team with good pitching, hitting and defense. Nolan batted .600 and was 2-0. Davidson batted .350 and was 4-0. Cox was 3-0. Sumpter and Christensen also hit .350.

Glenelg Gladiators

1997 record: 14-7 overall, 13-5 league

Coach: Tom Thrasher

Top players: David Harris, Sr., OF/P; Jeff Starcher, Jr., P/2B; Dan Kurdziel, Sr., P/3B; Mike Rice, Jr., P/3B; Matt Thrasher, Jr., 1B; Brandon Robertson, Jr., P/OF; Matt Kozora, Sr., 2B; John Hughes, Jr., OF; Nick Paparounis, Sr., OF; Jeremy Shry, Sr., OF; Jason Weszka, Soph., C.

Outlook: The Gladiators appeared to have enough pitching and offense returning to put them in the hunt for a title, but a broken index finger on Starcher's pitching hand late in the basketball season draped uncertainty over Glenelg's expectations. Starcher was 4-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 43 innings and batted .301. Harris batted .439 with nine doubles, three triples, two home runs, 23 RBIs and was second-team All-County. Rice batted .349 and Thrasher .339. Kozora is a transfer from Mount St. Joseph who should hit for a good average. Kurdziel was 4-4 with a 3.47 ERA in 38 innings. Robertson was 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 17 innings. "We're still fairly young, so we're wait and see," Thrasher said.

Hammond Golden Bears

1997 record: 13-11 overall, 10-8 league

Coach: Bob Maxey

Top players: Brian Pietryka, Sr., P/SS; Ken Beck, Sr., P/OF; Austin Smith, Sr., OF; Nick Peter, Sr., P; Kevin Webb, Sr., P; Jason Boyd, Sr., OF; Jeremy Peltzman, Sr., DH; Kevin Schwartz, Fr., P; Brian Brewer, Fr., 3B; Jason Maxey, Fr., C; Jason Harriman, Soph., OF.

Outlook: The Bears have experience, with seven returning starters, but also have a number of unproven players. They will start three freshmen. If they hadn't lost two pitchers and an outstanding second baseman/lead-off batter because the trio moved out of town, Maxey would tout his team as a contender. As it is, the Bears will seek to improve upon last season's record. Pietryka is an All-County shortstop who batted .442, had eight three-hit games and broke the Hammond record for most hits in a season at 38. He played every inning and made one error. Beck throws in the low 80s.

Howard Lions

1997 record: 10-13 overall, 6-12 league

Coach: Rich Jenkins

Top players: Brent Hanauer, Sr., P; Matt Cisna, Sr., P; Anthony Aceves, Jr., SS/OF; Marc Ginsberg, Sr., 1B; Eric Nawrocki, Sr., 2B; Colin Stefan, Sr., INF; T.J. Swiney, Sr., C; Brandon Renehan, Sr., P/OF.

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