Crown All-Star Game a chance to live dreams

June 08, 1998|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For many who took the field for yesterday's Crown High School All-Star Game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the annual matchup of the state's top seniors had little to do with competitive baseball. It had more to do with grass -- thick, green, nearly flawless grass.

Far better manicured than any the 30 participants had ever played on during their high school years, and mere minutes removed from serving as center stage for heroes like Cal Ripken and Greg Maddux, it was a vivid reminder of where they were and where they eventually want to be.

In that respect, the North's 11-8 win over the South was virtually meaningless. To most, the chance to live out a dream was what the day was all about.

"It was unbelievable," said McDonogh pitcher Bradd Caplan, who started for the North and allowed a run in two innings. "I've been here so many years watching Orioles games, but when I first stepped on the mound the dirt didn't move anywhere. It was great."

The day began with player introductions over the stadium public address system prior to the Orioles' game against the Atlanta Braves. Each player was then presented with a souvenir bat, his name engraved on the sweet spot.

Getting to actually play a game was the icing on the cake.

South catcher Keith Brunst of Severna Park knew with one swing of the bat that this day was special.

"That first single I got... the sound that it made -- the echo -- it was unbelievable," said Brunst, who went 2-for-3. "I'm sure it was only from the aluminum, but it was awesome."

For Calvert Hall infielder Michael Wineke, who went 3-for-4 to earn North MVP honors, the game was a chance to fulfill a family dream. His father, Larry, had been scheduled to appear in a Crown All-Star game in the '70s before rain canceled the event.

Wineke, as well as Calvert Hall teammate Greg DeBoy (two-run double) and Catoctin's John West (RBI double) helped the North score nine runs in the second inning to build their lead to 11-1.

The South rallied late, scoring three on a bases-loaded double by Westlake's Daryl Whitmer and another on a run-scoring single by Arundel's Hector Guadalupe to make it 11-8.

Pub Date: 6/08/98

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