Meade's big victory helps offset same-day forfeit


April 14, 1999|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Trying to transform a perennial loser into a winner takes hard work, patience and the ability to bounce back from frequent setbacks that bedevil such a program.

Meade's stunning 5-4 upset of Baltimore area baseball's top-ranked Arundel (5-3) Monday might have been a reward of sorts for coach Royal Webster, who is facing head-on the ups and downs of trying to gain respect.

It certainly lifted his spirits.

Webster, 7-32 in his first two seasons at Meade, experienced the dejection of forfeiting a game the morning of the upset.

"Just when we think we are making progress in trying to build a decent program, something like this [forfeit] happens," said Webster in announcing that he had turned in his own team.

"It's frustrating, because it seems that stuff like this at Meade is never ending."

Webster's Mustangs (2-3) edged Glen Burnie, 5-4, a week ago today for their first victory on the road in several years. When Webster learned that winning pitcher Ted Bryan had skipped school that day and still played, they had to forfeit.

County rules state if an athlete misses school, he or she cannot play in a game on that day.

"He showed no regard for the team and deceived the coaching staff," said Webster. "It never stops here."

Just last week some were questioning why Meade's senior pitcher, Edwin Perez, was allowed to pitch after being forced out of Glen Burnie. Perez, who still resides in the Glen Burnie district, received a disciplinary-adjustment transfer from the latter school to Meade before the start of the baseball season, a Glen Burnie official said.

Normally under county guidelines, if a student/athlete is academically ineligible or violates the conduct code, he is not allowed to participate in athletics. Example: the suspension of several Broadneck football players in the fall, including two for the season.

It's unlikely that Perez would have been allowed to play this spring at Glen Burnie if he had stayed there. The nature of his behavioral problems are not public knowledge because of the county privacy act.

Perez notched a save in last week's win over his old team, which was subsequently forfeited, and got the win over Arundel. People wonder why he is able to play.

"If a student is expelled or asked to leave a school, a meeting can be held and sometimes an agreement can be worked out to allow him to play at his new school," said Marlene Kelly, county coordinator of physical education who is not privy to the Perez case because of the privacy act. "It's between the student, his parents and the school board."

Webster said he "knew that Edwin got into trouble last year and didn't finish the season" but had "no idea what happened" this year.

"We were told he was eligible to play," said Meade athletic director Sam Pandullo.

Ken Nichols, assistant superintendent of county high schools, said that in such cases if a student "is re-instated at another school, they get all their rights back."

"I can see a community problem in that it may look like we are rewarding a student for bad behavior," said Nichols, a former Arundel and Annapolis principal.

But Nichols said that as an educator and father of five, he clearly sees the other side.

"Young people make mistakes, and we should be supportive of giving them opportunities to work through their mistakes, " he said.

"You know that years ago a proposal was made to have athletes who transfer from one high school to another sit out a year, but it was never approved. Just maybe we need a rule like that."

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

Pub Date: 4/14/99

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