Six still have shots at county title game

Sidelines

Severna Park, Arundel lead, but upsets abound

April 30, 1999|By PAT O'MALLEY | PAT O'MALLEY,SUN STAFF

An unprecedented six of the county's 12 public school baseball teams still have a shot at making the county championship game, which will match the top-two league finishers on May 10 at Joe Cannon Stadium.

With four games remaining, it's anybody's guess which teams will be playing.

Going into today's games, top-ranked Severna Park (13-3 overall, 10-2 league) and No. 7 Arundel (11-5, 9-3) have the inside track.

But the way county teams have been knocking each other off this season, the title game's combatants are far from settled. And there are no guaranteed wins.

Examples: Just this week, South River (4-8, 2-9) was a 6-5 victor over No. 11 Old Mill (10-5, 7-4) but then lost, 9-7, to Severna Park. And then, Southern (8-8, 5-7) went eight innings for a 5-2 upset of No. 12 Broadneck (9-6, 6-5).

Annapolis (5-9, 2-9) ripped South River, 14-4, on Monday before losing, 7-6, to Severna Park. And of course, who can forget Meade's final-inning, 5-4 victory over Arundel a couple weeks ago?

That was the start of a rare 1-3 week for Arundel, which has since won five straight, three this week.

Down the stretch to the county championship and into the Class 4A East region playoffs, Arundel has depth with four quality pitchers, Andy Kostic (4-1), Star Kriger (4-0), Dave Stallings (2-1) and sophomore Chip Ziegler (1-3).

Ziegler's first season at Arundel after transferring from Old Mill has mirrored the Wildcats' play. The right-hander has pitched well despite his record, but until Tuesday, his teammates had not being scoring runs for him. Then, Arundel hammered Southern, 14-0, as Ziegler threw a three-hitter.

No. 3 batter Norris Roy had a bases-loaded triple and three hits. Fifth batter John McCurdy knocked in a pair.

The middle of Arundel's batting order had not been hitting together, but now they have started. Successful teams usually get a lot of production from their middle hitters.

In a five-inning 10-0 rout of Broadneck Wednesday, Roy had three more hits, John McCurdy had a triple, four RBIs, and designated hitter Mike Fox doubled in a pair.

But in Monday's 9-5 victory over Severna Park, which snapped the Falcons' 10-game winning streak, Roy, Fox and McCurdy were a combined 2-for-11, so the end of their order had to get it done.

But the Wildcats Nos. 6-9 batters, starting with Kevin Brooks, who was 4-for-4 with three runs scored, went 10-for-15 and scored seven times.

"If we can function on all nine cylinders, we might be a problem for some people," said Arundel coach Bernie Walter.

Arundel opponents know the story well: the Wildcats are peaking at the right time.

But Severna Park, in first now, seems up to the challenge. The Falcons' first five hitters, Tony Dokoupil, Joe Weidman, Jon King, switch-hitting Derek Dixon and Chris DiMenna, are as good as any in the metro area. Plus, the Falcons' question marks on the mound are producing.

Junior right-hander Josh Banks is 4-2 with both losses to Arundel, and he is a considerably better pitcher than he was at the start. And senior Nick DeAngelis is 5-0.

On paper, it looks as if Arundel and Severna Park will play for the title. But the way this season has been going, who knows?

Sideliners

Anne Arundel Community College's baseball team, loaded with county players, has clinched the top seed in the Division I Region XX playoffs in what may be coach Clayton Jacobson's 11th and final season.

Jacobson has turned in his resignation, effective at the end of this season. It's the talk of the junior college circuit. The coach had no comment, except that he will have plenty to say when the season ends.

Steve Tomshack, an All-County catcher at North County four years ago, is closing out a fine career at UMBC. Batting .460, he ranks among the nation's top Division I offensive leaders.

Wayne Bradford, former All-County football player from Glen Burnie and a veteran assistant at Salisbury State, is a prime candidate for the vacant Archbishop Spalding football post.

Severna Park infielder Jon King visited West Point last week and may play baseball for the Cadets. His Falcons teammate, pitcher Nick DeAngelis, is headed to the Merchant Marine Academy.

Jerry Kerbe and Jimmy Wolfe, two county residents who have given more than their share of free time coaching youth baseball teams, are each battling serious illnesses.

Travis Blake, Chesapeake's second-team All-County basketball forward, is recovering from a bout with meningitis, as well as being recruited by Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College, where NBA star Sean Kemp played.

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

Down the stretch

With four games left in the regular season, six county baseball teams are tussling to finish first or second, thus qualifying for the county title game May 10.

Including games yesterday, here are the contenders and who plays whom through next week:

1. Severna Park (10-2): Broadneck today, Southern Monday, South River Wednesday, at Broadneck next Friday.

2. Arundel (9-3): at Annapolis today, South River Monday, at Broadneck Wednesday, Annapolis next Thursday.

3. Chesapeake (7-5): at North County today, Northeast Monday, at Old Mill Wednesday, North County at Joe Cannon next Friday.

4. Old Mill (7-4): at Meade today, North County Monday, Chesapeake Wednesday, Meade next Friday.

5. Glen Burnie (7-5): Northeast at Joe Cannon tonight, at Meade Monday, at North County Wednesday, at Northeast next Friday.

6. Broadneck (6-5): at Severna Park today, Annapolis Monday, Arundel Wednesday, at Severna Park next Friday.

Pub Date: 4/30/99

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