1998 All-Howard County baseball teams

May 28, 1998|By Rick Belz and Stan Rappaport

Coach of the Year

Tom Thrasher, Glenelg: In his second season as varsity coach, Thrasher's squad delivered Glenelg's fourth state title and third in the last six seasons. The 47-year-old Glenwood Middle School teacher, a Frostburg State graduate, knew this team had potential, but it had just three senior starters. He didn't really dream it would go 22-2 and win a state title. Nor could he have anticipated the kind of heart it showed in what was a remarkable five-game playoff. The Gladiators rallied to win by one run in the last inning three times during the playoffs, overcame three major deficits of five, nine and four runs, and won twice in extra innings. In the state final they wiped out a four-run deficit in the seventh inning, and then won it in extra innings. Thrasher stressed teamwork and deemphasized individual accomplishments in favor of giving yourself up by bunting and hitting behind the runner. "The players put forth the effort when we asked them to, and we had a number of come-from-behind wins. We tried to get them focused after each game to be ready to go on to the next one," Thrasher said. "I was blessed having Wayne Weszka, who is extremely knowledgeable, as my assistant coach."

Player of the Year

Jeff Starcher, Glenelg: "Every time you ask Starcher to step up, ++ he does," Glenelg coach Tom Thrasher said. Seemingly always cool under pressure and a quiet leader by example, Starcher meant more than any other one player to Glenelg. The junior was the Gladiators' leading hitter for average at .464 (32-for-69), 32 RBIs, six home runs (four in the playoffs) and six doubles. His two-run single in the last inning tied the state championship game. With just four errors, he was a steady shortstop when not pitching. And he had a terrific arm, going 8-1 with two saves as the league's premier pitcher. He struck out 67 and walked 20 in 56 1/3 innings, and had a 3.70 ERA. His 11-strikeout, eight-inning performance in the state final was typical of his, and his team's, unwillingness to give up.

The first team

Anthony Aceves, Howard, junior, outfield: Many coaches think he's the league's most talented player. He has speed and a good arm. He batted .520 (38-for-73), was second in doubles (10) and in RBIs (38), with two triples and five homers.

Adam Beaver, Atholton, junior, third base: A power hitter with four doubles, three triples and four home runs, Beaver batted .430 (34-for-79) with 28 RBIs and scored 31 runs. His .553 on-base average included 15 walks. His slugging average was .709. He also stole 12 bases in 12 tries.

Ken Beck, Hammond,senior, pitcher: Although he made the team as a pitcher for his 6-3 record, 2.56 ERA, 42 strikeouts and 18 walks in 41 1/3 innings, Beck was also a potent hitter, batting .434 (23-for-53) with six doubles, three home runs and 19 RBIs. He pitched a four-hit gem against Glenelg in the regional opener that the Bears lost in extra innings, 4-3.

Chris Becraft, River Hill, sophomore, outfield: field: Second-team All-County as a freshman, Becraft drew raves from opposing coaches as well as from his own coach. He led the league with a .540 (27-for-50) batting average. He had an .860 slugging average and .731 on-base average. He slammed five doubles, one triple and three home runs, drove in 15 runs.

Matt Deuchler, Centennial, junior, catcher: A unanimous pick as the league's best catcher, Deuchler batted 508 (31-for-61) with three doubles, two triples, four home runs and 24 RBIs. He scored 27 times and stole 15 bases in 15 attempts. His unusually strong arm picked off five runners and threw out eight of 13

runners trying to steal. He's a repeat first-team All-County selection.

Arin Gelletly, River Hill, sophomore, first base: He batted .400 (22-for-55) with a .618 slugging average and a .574 on-base average, seven doubles and 22 RBIs.

Dave Harris, Glenelg, senior, outfield: A highly feared hitter who led the league in hits (39), doubles (11) and RBIs (39), Harris batted .446 (37-for-83) with a total of 17 extra-base hits, including a triple and five home runs. His lead-off triple in the eighth inning of the state championship game sparked the winning rally. He also pitched 33 2/3 innings with a 2-0 record and three saves.

Mike Martin, Centennial, junior, shortstop: A key leader who held together Centennial's infield, he handled 67 chances with just five errors. As the lead-off batter, he hit .373 (18-for-48) with 15 walks. He scored 21 runs, had nine RBIs and stole six bases. A knee injury slowed him down midway through the season.

Jason Maxey, Hammond, freshman, designated hitter: nated hitter: This precocious freshman batted .500 (25-for-50) with good power -- six doubles and three home runs. He had 27 RBIs, scored 21 times, walked 15 times, had three game-winning hits.

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