1998 All-Anne Arundel County baseball team

May 28, 1998|By PAT O'MALLEY AND GLENN P. GRAHAM

Player of the Year

Hector Guadalupe, Arundel, senior, shortstop: This switch-hitter's transfer from Riverdale Baptist to Arundel turned a potentially good team into a great team and Class 4A state champion. Guadalupe, who has been projected to be drafted between fifth and 10th in the upcoming major league baseball draft, brought more than physical skills to Gambrills. "Hector brought an attitude to this team that this particular group did not have," said coach Bernie Walter. "He showed the other guys how you can have fun playing baseball hard. He changed Arundel's attitude." Guadalupe, a 6-foot, 170-pound native of Puerto Rico, batted .404. He led the Wildcats in at-bats (99), homers (four) and stolen bases (20). He hit a state-record 17 doubles. Batting second, he tied for the team lead in runs (41), triples (three) and walks (17) and drove in 26 runs. His excellent hands, strong arm, instincts and range enabled him to turn what would be spectacular plays for most high schoolers into routine plays. Guadalupe has a scholarship to Middle Georgia Community College if he doesn't turn pro.

Coach of the Year

Bernie Walter, Arundel: Winner of this honor for a county-record fourth time since 1980, Walter takes such pride in preparing his team by practice under pressure that he wasn't the least bit worried when he had to attend a teacher/coach conference in Florida with two games left in the regional. Turning the reins over to his veteran assistant, Nick Jauschnegg, Walter said: "These guys know how to play and don't really need coaches." He was right, as top ranked Arundel (22-4) romped over North County, 11-0, and outlasted then No. 1 Severna Park, 12-7, in eight innings in the region final to advance to the final four a state-record 12th time. Arundel rolled through the state playoffs (13-7 over Gaithersburg and 12-1 over Patterson) and claimed a Maryland-record eighth state championship. This year's team batted .400 and scored 67 runs in six playoff victories. Walter's Wildcats also own the state mark for appearances in the final with 11, most consecutive region titles (six, 1991-96). The coach of 25 years is the county's all-time winningest at 427-117 (.785). "This was a great hitting team and defensive team, and I think our pitching surprised a lot of people, " said Walter, the former Brooklyn Park High and University of Maryland shortstop.

The first team

Justin Bell, Arundel, senior, left-handed pitcher: Moving up from second team, Bell was 7-0 his final year, making him 13-1 in two varsity seasons for the Class 4A state champs. In 52 2/3 innings, the left-hander gave up 18 earned runs, had a 2.39 ERA with 50 strikeouts, 34 walks. He gave up 40 hits. Bell, who will attend Hampden-Sydney (Va.) College, mixed a sharp-breaking curve ball with a sneaky fastball and adequate change-up. One of his biggest wins was over defending Class 4A state champion Chesapeake. The first-round victory propelled the Wildcats to six straight wins and a state title.

Pat Boucher, Severna Park, senior, right-handed pitcher: He was one of the main reasons the Falcons (19-3) won the county South Division title, had the league's best overall record (15-1), and were the metro area's top-ranked team for several weeks. The Falcon ace was 6-1 with a 1.37 ERA and 51 strikeouts, 25 walks and 34 hits in 41 innings. Playing left field when he didn't pitch, Boucher, one of just two first-team repeaters, hit .387 with 25 RBIs, 15 runs, eight doubles and seven homers. He set the career public-school record for homers with 19.

Andy Kostic, Arundel, junior, right-handed pitcher: Not even the No. 1 pitcher on JV as 10th-grader, the 6-foot-3 Kostic emerged as the Wildcat ace down the stretch, finishing at 10-1, the most wins by any county pitcher. Three wins came in the last three playoff games, including a 12-1 three-hitter over Patterson in the Class 4A state final. In 62 1/3 innings, Kostic, who had a 1.90 ERA, gave up 63 hits, struck out 52 and walked only 14. Kostic, who won the last two games of the regional pitching nine innings in two days, had command of three pitches (fastball, curve and change) and fielded his position like an infielder.

Billy Whitecotton, North County, senior, right-handed pitcher: A pro prospect who may be drafted in June, he was the Knights' ace and second leading hitter. In 43.1 innings pitched, Whitecotton (5-2) gave up 34 hits, walked 14 and struck out 61 with a 3.00 ERA. With an above-average breaking pitch and a fastball in the mid-80s, he pitched four complete games, including a playoff shutout of Westminster. Whitecotton, who has a scholarship to Shepherd (W.Va.) College if he doesn't sign, also batted .357 with eight doubles and 16 RBIs.

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