1999 All-Anne Arundel County baseball teams

June 02, 1999|By PAT O'MALLEY AND GLENN P. GRAHAM

Player of the Year

Tim Hecker, Glen Burnie, senior, pitcher: Hecker was the catalyst of the Gophers' first Class 4A state championship team and the best season in school history. The 5-foot-9 and 170-pound workhorse led the county with an 11-1 record, with four of the wins coming in the playoffs. Hecker pitched 27 1/3 innings in 13 days as the No. 4 Gophers (18-7) won three straight in the East region playoffs and two more in the state tournament, with Hecker saving the only game he didn't win. "Give him the credit, he was the man down the stretch, " said Gophers coach Bruce Sider. After pitching the Gophers into the final four, Hecker three-hit Eleanor Roosevelt, 6-0, with 10 strikeouts and no walks and followed it up with a seven-hitter and 3-1 victory over No. 15 Perry Hall in the final. Striking out seven, Hecker, who throws three pitches (fastball, curve, changeup) for strikes and hits spots with exceptional accuracy, again did not walk a batter. For the season, Hecker gave up 86 hits, walked just 13 and struck out 96 in 88 1/3 innings, posting a 1.18 ERA. Hecker also played second base and batted .422 with 20 runs scored, 10 doubles, three triples, a homer and 12 RBIs.

Coach of the Year

Bruce Sider, Glen Burnie: In 18 previous seasons, Sider's teams had not won more than 13 games in a season and had never been to the state semifinals. It all came together for the former Glen Burnie catcher and 1971 grad this spring, as his No. 4 Gophers set a number of school records, including most wins (18-7) and won the first state championship in school history. "It was a special team that started believing around midseason that they could win it all," said Sider, who is 195-191 in 19 seasons. "The credit goes to the kids and to my assistant Kevin Schiavone." As proud as Sider was of his team's accomplishments on the field, he was equally as proud of the class his players showed in projecting a positive image for a school that has been maligned for school disturbances and lack of competitive boys teams.

The first team

Andy Kostic, Arundel, senior, pitcher: One of three repeat first-team selections, Kostic closed out a brilliant two-year varsity career with an 8-1 record, striking out 85 in 59 innings and walking only six. An improved curveball made his fastball seem even faster, and the 6-3, 190-pounder fields his position exceptionally well. Kostic takes his 18-2 career record to Division II Salem-Tekio.

Tony Rolfes, Southern, senior, pitcher: A crafty left-hander who sets up hitters well and has a good move to first base, had the best record (7-1) of any Bulldog since Dale Castro during the 1970s. No. 19 Southern was 11-10 thanks to Rolfes' 62 innings in which he struck out 74, yielded 44 hits and walked 32 with a 1.71 ERA. His only loss was 2-1 to Class 4A state champion Glen Burnie. He batted .325 with three doubles and 11 RBIs. Rolfes has a baseball scholarship to UNC-Charlotte.

Ron Pusloskie, Spalding, junior, catcher: Pusloskie was a bright spot for the Cavaliers during a losing season in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference. He batted .386 with three homers, six doubles, 23 RBIs and 18 runs scored. Pusloskie also stole 12 bases.

Matt Smith, Glen Burnie, junior, catcher: The 5-9, 155-pound Smith led the Gophers in batting with a .444 average and had 11 doubles and 14 RBIs, striking out just eight times. Smith had a pair of RBI singles in the 6-0 state semifinal win over Roosevelt, and had two doubles and two runs scored in the final. Smith was second in runs scored with 21. Behind the plate, he possessed a very quick release, blocked pitches well, had an adequate arm and was a strong leader.

Rich Guarnera, North County, junior, first baseman: A two-year starter for the Knights, Guarnera hit .478 in 21 games with nine doubles, 17 runs scored and 19 RBIs. Guarnera hit safely in 16 of the Knights' 21 games, had 11 multi-hit efforts, an on-base average of .500 and slugging percentage of .754. Guarnera had a .986 fielding percentage with 126 putouts, 10 assists and only two errors.

Edmund Carazo, Meade, senior, second baseman: Carazo led the county in batting at .571, scored 28 runs, knocked in 19, had eight doubles, two triples and a home run. Carazo also played football and ran indoor track and will play football at Towson University.

Jeremy Shafer, North County, senior, second baseman: A line-drive, spray hitter and excellent middle infielder, Shafer batted .381 and committed only six errors. Shafer, a three-year starter who coach Don Usewick said was "a quiet leader who will be missed," scored 21 runs, had eight RBIs, three doubles, two triples and 15 walks for a a .494 on-base percentage. Shafer had 33 putouts and 27 assists for a fielding percentage of .909.

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