Fall exposure for Banks earns 4-year stay in Florida


November 03, 1999|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Severna Park's Josh Banks gave up high school football to play fall baseball with coach Dean Albany's Oriolelanders showcase team and has no regrets.

Banks, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound righthanded pitcher, has accepted a full baseball scholarship to Division I Florida International University in Miami. FIU is a member of the Sun Belt Conference.

"They [FIU] saw me pitching for Dean and the Oriolelanders in a tournament in Wilmington, N.C., this fall and they made me the offer this week," said Banks, a second-team All-County pitcher for the No. 6 ranked Falcons (17-5) after going 5-2 with them as a junior last spring.

The exposure Banks received this fall with the Oriolelanders drew the attention of the Golden Panthers and a number of other colleges, including Virginia Tech and James Madison, each of which offered a near-full scholarship.

"I chose Florida International because they've had one of the top pitching staffs in the nation over the last few years and led the country in ERA (3.41) last year," said Banks, who was 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA this fall.

"Their pitching coach, Marc Calvi, is pretty impressive, and I expect to become a better pitcher."

In his visit to the school, Banks ran into former Old Mill All-Metro pitcher and county player of the year (1985) Dennis Wiseman, who rewrote the Golden Panthers' record book before going on to pitch in the St. Louis Cardinals' organization.

Calvi said that Banks "reminded" him of Wiseman, who pitched in college at 6-4, 185, and "has the same kind of potential at this stage."

After several years in the minors, an arm injury ended Wiseman's pro career at the AAA level, and he has made Florida home.

Banks led the Falcons in pass receptions with 20 for 461 yards (23.0 average) and seven touchdowns last fall before giving up the sport to concentrate on baseball.

Severna Park's Derek Dixon also played weekends for the Oriolelanders as a switch-hitting outfielder while becoming the leading ground-gainer for the playoff-bound Falcons football team.

It's tougher for a pitcher to play football on Friday night and try to pick up a baseball and throw it on Saturday or Sunday, thus, Banks' decision.

"I don't have any regrets because I love baseball, and the football team (8-1) is doing fine without me," said Banks, who carries a 3.0 grade-point average and scored 1,040 on his SAT. He plans to major in business or sports management.

"Josh is a kid who should only get better at the next level as he gets stronger," said Albany, a Linthicum resident. "He had a great fall for us and people got to see him for the first time."

Irvine steps down

John Irvine, the only golf coach Chesapeake has ever had, has stepped down after 24 years. His Cougars took this fall's B Division title and finished third in the county and District 5 tournaments.

Irvine and his wife, Jill, who have a combined 66 years in public education, have retired to Dataw Island, S.C.

"I want to thank the many parents, students and community for their support over the last 24 years," said Irvine. "It has been a rewarding experience for me."

Hendricks MVP again

Amy Hendricks of Annapolis Area Christian School (14-0-1) was named Player of the Year in the Tri-State Soccer League for a third straight season after leading the Eagles to the championship by 5-2 over Grace Brethren.

Scoring four of her team's goals in the final, Hendricks set an Eagles school record for goals (32) in a season and had six assists for a total of 38 points in 14 games.

She scored nine goals in two tournament games last week, one short of the overall county record for goals (33) in a season, set by Meade's Julie McCormick in 1986. The only game in which Hendricks did not score was a 0-0 tie with Meade (4-9-2).


Severna Park High will be Saturday's site for the third District 5 Wrestling Clinic. scheduled to start at 9 a.m. All public school wrestlers and coaches in District 5 are welcome to attend the free clinic.

District 5 includes Anne Arundel, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. For information, call Severna Park's Paul Joyce at (410) 544-0900, ext. 230, or at home, (410) 672-7969.

Bernie Walter's video, "A Trip Around the Bases," has drawn rave reviews from Collegiate Baseball, which calls it, "a superb compilation of tricks of the trade which have made Arundel a winner for decades and will undoubtedly give an edge to players and coaches who view it."

Walter whose Arundel Wildcats own a Maryland-record eight state championships, is a "master coach," according to Collegiate Baseball. To order, send $19.95 plus $4.95 shipping payable to Bill Blythe, 1101 Rosedale Ave., Glen Burnie, MD 21061.

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

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