Teams at a glance

March 20, 2000|By Pat O'Malley

Annapolis Panthers (6-14)

Coach: Larry Brogden

Outlook: Brogden (212-315) begins his 27th season at Annapolis with a new assistant coach in Kevin Schiavone, who was the top assistant at Glen Burnie. After a 4-4 start last season, the Panthers stumbled until the playoffs, where they eliminated North County before dropping an 8-7 decision in the Class 4A East region semifinals to eventual state champion Glen Burnie. The Panthers, now in Class 3A, return experience up the middle with pitchers Joe Feldmann and Matt Sanchez, C Scott Robinson and CF Marvin Charles.

Ann. Area Christian Eagles (5-10)

Coach: Greg Whitley

Outlook: Whitley is looking to improve on what was a disappointing season in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference with only two seniors. The group of underclassmen have been together for three years and could be ready to turn the corner. Senior pitchers Greg Wheeler, John Hulcher and Jay Parks along with junior Adam Bedell hold the keys to success.

Arch. Spalding Cavaliers (6-16)

Coach: Dave Lanham

Outlook: All-County C Ron Pusloskie, who batted .386 with three homers and 23 RBIs to go with 18 runs scored and 12 stolen bases, returns along with seniors Mike Shires, Zeeshan Marfani and Jesse Scott to give the Cavs an experienced nucleus that could make them more competitive in the MIAA A Conference. Shires, who plays the corners (1B/3B), batted .357 last season while Marfani, another infielder, led his team with a .394 average and had 21 RBIs and 21 runs. Scott needs to get the job done on the mound as the Cavs have the unenviable task of competing in the A Conference with the likes of Mount St. Joseph, Calvert Hall, Loyola and Curley for one of the four playoff berths.

Arundel Wildcats (17-6)

Coach: Bernie Walter

Outlook: In what was somewhat of a down year in Class 4A baseball last spring, the Wildcats appeared to be on the way to repeating as state champions until a surprising 2-0 loss at Chesapeake (11-11) in the East region semifinals. The loss knocked the Wildcats from No. 1 in The Sun's poll and they finished No. 5. Second-team All-County performers such as senior 2B Kevin Brooks and junior OF/P Chip Ziegler are expected to be the leaders this season. Brooks batted .343 and scored 19 runs while Ziegler played several positions before settling in center field and hitting .311. On the mound, Ziegler had tough luck going 1-3 with a 1.81 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 31 innings.

Broadneck Bruins (10-11)

Coach: Mark Stover

Outlook: Moving up to Class 4A, the Bruins will find themselves competing with such perennial powers as Arundel, Severna Park and Old Mill in the highly competitive East region come playoff time. OF Ryan Bellerby, who led the Bruins in hitting at .382, is the top returnee. The Bruins' pitching chores will be handled by the coach's son, senior Matt Stover (3-2), Bellerby and junior Nick Richards. Other top players and hitters figure to be senior 1B Anthony Zirrolli and juniors Jayson Jennings (SS) and Bryan Parks (3B). "Just like our other teams at Broadneck, there is an adjustment up to 4A, especially the playoffs where it will be a little tougher," Stover said.

Chesapeake Cougars (11-11)

Coach: Jim Simms

Outlook: The Cougars' 2-0 upset of then top-ranked Arundel in the Class 4A East semifinals was the highlight of their season. Senior outfielders Bo Danton (.431, 21 runs, 20 RBIs, 17 stolen bases) and John Spinnenweber (.408, 11 RBIs) are the top returning hitters on a rebuilding club. Pitching and catching are big question for Simms (106-63, nine seasons) who led the Cougars to the Class 4A state title in 1997.

Glen Burnie Gophers (18-7)

Coach: Bruce Sider

Outlook: An encore Class 4A state title is not likely for the Gophers. Graduation took county Player of the Year and All-Metro pitcher Tim Hecker (11-1) along with All -County CF Brian Kellner (.333, four homers, 28 runs, 15 RBIs). All-County C Matt Smith, who led the Gophers in hitting (.444) is back along with several others including SS Chris Grogan (.357) and sophomore OF Keith Williams (.246, 14 runs, 15 RBIs), but pitching is a huge question mark.

Meade Mustangs (5-12)

Coach: Royal Webster

Outlook: The Mustangs' 5-4 upset of Arundel in the regular season was the highlight of what was an eighth straight losing season. The Mustangs have not had a winning season since 1991, and will be hard-pressed to produce one this year. All-County 2B Edmund Carazo, who led the county in batting (.571) with 28 runs scored and 19 RBIs, graduated. The Mustangs are short on quality pitching and depth.

North County Knights (9-11)

Coach: Don Usewick

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