Big baseball games loom, even this early in season



It's early, but the two baseball teams expected to vie for Anne Arundel County's South Division title play at 3: 45 p.m. today in Gambrills, when No. 3-ranked Severna Park (1-1 overall, 1-0 league) visits No. 5 Arundel (2-1, 1-0).

On Monday, the big game will be in the North Division, but let's peek at the South first.

Arundel vs. Severna Park: The teams split last year in regular season, but Arundel knocked the Falcons out of the playoffs. Both opened 1998 play with losses but have bounced back.

Arundel dropped a 5-4 decision to No. 9 Old Mill (3-0, 1-0) on Monday. The next day the Wildcats posted a 7-2 victory over a very good Thomas Johnson team in Frederick, then invaded Harwood Wednesday and hammered Southern (0-3, 0-1) by 9-0.

Severna Park opened its season in Calvert County with a surprising 7-4 loss at Northern. The Patriots have struggled the last couple seasons, but the Falcons committed several costly errors that helped give the game away. On Wednesday, though, the Falcons humbled Annapolis (0-1) by 13-3 with catcher Keith Brunst homering, his second in two games.

Old Mill vs. Chesapeake: Old Mill, the defending Class 4A state champion, and Chesapeake are expected to battle again for the North Division title. They meet the first time this spring at 3: 45 p.m. Monday in Lake Shore.

Old Mill, also defending county champion, reeled off its third straight win this spring by 8-5 over Northeast (0-2, 0-1).

After dropping a tough 2-0 decision at No. 2-ranked Calvert Hall Monday, No. 4 Chesapeake (1-1, 1-0) took a hard-earned 7-6 win at Glen Burnie (1-1, 0-1) on Wednesday. Ace right-hander Ray Wagner went the distance for the victory.

Old Mill coach Mel Montgomery, who lost eight starters from last season's team to graduation, has been pleasantly surprised by his new team's start.

"Not any of the three guys who got wins this week had pitched any varsity baseball," said Montgomery.

Senior left-hander Steve Fogler got the first win over Arundel in his varsity debut with senior Alan Gowing getting a save in a hairy seventh inning.

Sophomore Dave Hicks went all five innings in a 20-0 romp at Broadneck Tuesday and came back Wednesday to protect an 8-3 lead against Northeast in the seventh, winning 8-5. The win went to Gowing, who had a three-hit shutout through six innings before Nick Neary's three-run homer chased him.

Old Mill, which plays host to Glen Burnie today, has banged out 37 hits and scored 33 runs in its first three games with an array of inexperienced varsity hitters.

"I guess the real key is when we start facing some of the premier pitchers in the league and see how we do against them," said Montgomery.

Senior third baseman Mark Campbell, used mostly as designated hitter last year and the Pats' only returning starter, is emerging as the team leader.

After nine errors, optimism

Rookie Northeast coach Marshal Kawecki still is looking for his first win in the Eagles' home opener today against North County (2-0, 1-0). Northeast committed five errors Tuesday in an 11-4 loss at Queen Anne's and had four more Wednesday at Old Mill.

Kawecki was encouraged, however, by his team's finish at Old Mill. The Eagles got the three-run homer from Neary and back-to-back homers by Ryan George and Billy Robbins in the seventh.

"We started coming around as a team against Old Mill," said Kawecki. "We get them [Old Mill] next time at home, and we're looking forward to it."

The return of ace lefty Adam Sutton to the mound will also help the Eagles' cause. Sutton has yet to pitch and may not for another week.

"Adam has tendinitis, and we don't want to rush it," said Kawecki. "We want him there at the end for the playoffs, so we have to be patient."

Walking man

Over 20 major league scouts showed up Tuesday at top-ranked Mount St. Joseph to watch Severna Park resident Mark Teixiera bat against Cardinal Gibbons.

They didn't see much, because the Crusaders walked the switch-hitting slugger three times, and Teixiera grounded out in his fourth at-bat in the Gaels' 5-2 victory.

Unfortunately for Teixiera, a potential No. 1 draft pick in June, that could become a familiar scenario. He's not likely to get many pitches to hit this spring. As a result, Teixiera, who has a full ride to Georgia Tech, will be partly judged on what he does in pre-game batting practice.


Meade's boys lacrosse team won its first game in two years last week, and we erred in noting the Mustangs' last winning season, which was an 8-6 showing in 1992 for coach Lou Norbeck. We thank Matt Rayman, who played on that team, for calling the 24-hour Sportsline to fill us in.

Have a note for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499.

Pub Date: 3/27/98

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