Baltimore City

Baseball

March 20, 2000|By Lem Satterfield and Josh Smith

Baltimore City

Archbishop Curley Friars (24-9)

Coach: Al Frank

Outlook: The defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champs return P/1B Brooks Norris, but lost plenty to graduation. The Friars broke numerous state batting records last season, including 49 home runs as a team, en route to their fifth private schools title in four decades. Frank, in his 38th year, has a 481-369 career record -- making him the area's winningest active coach.

Gibbons Crusaders (18-10)

Coach: Lou Holcomb

Outlook: The defending MIAA B Conference champs had several big wins last spring, including those over A Conference power Calvert Hall and A Conference champion Curley. OF Craig King and the infield of Justin King, Mike Cromer, Dennis Wilderson and Matt Foster return for Holcomb, the Baltimore City/County Coach of the Year.

Carver Bears (9-6)

Coach: Terry Thomas

Outlook: The Bears will rely on the pitching of senior Michael Mitchell, the bat of senior 2B Hosea Davis and a well-rounded defense to carry them to the postseason in 2000. Thomas likes his team's chances of improving on last season's record with virtually the same offense that averaged nine runs a game in 1999. Other key contributors include senior CF Michael Handy, and sophomore infielders Jeremiah Barrow and Daymien Sheppard.

City Knights (10-8)

Coach: Bill Walker

Outlook: If opposing teams expect to stop the Knights, they'll have to keep them off the bases. The Knights are loaded with speed throughout their lineup, headed by senior CF and leadoff man Maurice Travers. Several unproven pitchers will comprise the rotation, which took two huge hits when top pitcher Jawan Yancey was declared academically ineligible and sophomore Lamar Manigo suffered an arm injury. Senior Chris Morris, junior Brandon Simons, sophomore Corey Johnson and junior transfer Jay Lawson will also plays key roles in helping the Knights challenge the city's top teams.

Dunbar Poets (7-11)

Coach: Don Gilbert

Outlook: The Poets return 13 players, led by CF James Matthews, 1B Herbert Lucas and P Craig Scott -- all seniors. Coach Don Gilbert has also been encouraged by sophomore SS Eddie Quarles. Gilbert expects Scott to be on the mound a lot and Matthews to be his most legitimate hitting threat on a squad that lacks power. "We'll just try to win games the old-fashioned way -- manufacture runs, use our speed a little bit," Gilbert said.

Edmondson Redskins (11-7)

Coach: Tai Thompson

Outlook: A bunch of unproven sophomores and juniors fill Edmondson's roster, a reality Thompson attributes to the absence of a JV league in the city. Standout sophomore Antoine Welch (utility), junior Carl Byrd (OF/1B) and senior Harold Jenkins (C/1B) possess the most talent. Thompson will gauge his team's potential in an early season tournament hosted by the Redskins against Southwestern, Walbrook and Northwestern.

Forest Park Foresters (10-5)

Coach: Laney Prioleau

Outlook: The Foresters were hit hard by graduation. Forest Park lost several major contributors last spring -- most notably offensive star Akil Aziz -- forcing Prioleau to rework his team for 2000. He has a sturdy nucleus, however, beginning with seniors Brian Link (P/INF) and Sam Matthews (OF), juniors Derrick Parker (1B), Nathaniel Norman (3B) and junior Martez Paylor (OF). Prioleau is not shy about running the bases -- it's the team's strength -- but Forest Park needs to improve defensively if it expects stay in games.

Friends Quakers (3-9)

Coach: Tom Randall

Outlook: Deep pitching and sound defense will carry the Quakers. Friends has nine returning players, including senior 3B Brett Benjamin, who led the team in batting (.361) and home runs (four) in 1999. Seniors Matt Helman (CF), James Flynn (SS) and Josh Pincus-Sokolof (1B/P) are also back. Randall is excited about underclassmen Matt Peters (P) and Adam Ward, a freshman pitcher with power at the plate.

Distributing 40.0 points of excess space through leg.

END OF LEG 1

Gilman Greyhounds (5-13)

Coach: Marty Meloy

Outlook: The Greyhounds have three pitchers and three of their first four hitters returning. Seniors Nick Nocar, Dave Kardian and John Sheff punctuate the lineup. Kardian, the cleanup hitter, owns the additional title of staff ace. "I think we can contend," Meloy said, "but we need our pitching to come through." Improved pitching could help the Greyhounds in tight games, where they struggled last season, losing five one-run contests.

Lake Clifton Lakers (5-11)

Coach: Carroll Williams

Outlook: Williams has several athletes capable of playing at least two, sometimes three, positions. Williams had his share of players to pick from, too, as 70 people tried out for the team. Heading the diversified pack are seniors Ronald Jefferson, Dennis Lindsay, Dominic Burgess and juniors Jack Johnson, Michael Johnson and Kush Lewis. Jefferson, who hit close to .500 last year, is the team's top hitter and Jack Johnson is the ace.

Mervo Mustangs (13-6)

Coach: Andy Corbett

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