Severna Park-Arundel provide early intrigue

Sidelines

High Schools

March 26, 2000|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

The first big baseball game of the year is set for 4 p.m. tomorrow in Gambrills as third-ranked Severna Park (2-0) comes calling on the No. 5 Arundel Wildcats (2-0).

Over the last few years, there have been some epic games between the two teams and quite an intense rivalry has developed. It's the first time, however, that Arundel coach Bernie Walter won't see Jim Pitt in the Falcons dugout.

Instead, there'll be Jim McCandless, who succeeded Pitt after the latter's retirement following 26 seasons at Severna Park and 30 years overall (four at Annapolis) in the county.

But it won't be the first meeting between Walter and McCandless. The two have locked horns in the summer, Walter with Mayo Legion and McCandless, Severna Park Legion.

"It should be a good game for early in the season, but it doesn't count for anything in the long scheme of things," said McCandless.

McCandless will hand the ball to his senior ace, Josh Banks; Arundel is expected to counter with junior right-hander Chip Ziegler.

Banks will be making his first start of the season after throwing the last inning of yesterday's 7-2 victory over DeMatha (2-3). The game work was better than throwing on the side for Banks.

Severna Park also knocked off(0-1) Annapolis, 11-4, Friday and senior reliever Jason Carl got the win in both games.

Ziegler spun a brilliant two-hitter with 11 strikeouts on Thursday to blank Thomas Johnson of Frederick, 5-0, and is expected to come back on three days' rest.

It will be a treat to watch Ziegler go against his longtime summer teammate of the Maryland Orioles and the Falcons' No. 3 hitter, Derek Dixon.

Each of the confrontations between Ziegler and Dixon, who is a switch-hitter and will bat left against the Wildcats ace, should be a hoot.

Arundel's other win was another superb pitching performance by 2-1 over No. 14 Southern-AA (1-1) on Friday. Junior right-hander Bart Maxwell went six strong innings for the win, giving up five hits and striking out five.

Junior lefty Jason Ford and freshman righty Joe Frykman, whom Walter says "you're going to hear a lot about" over the next four years, got the last three outs with Southern scoring its only run.

Go Gophers

Coming off their first state title, the unranked Glen Burnie Gophers (2-0) posted a 2-1 win over top-ranked Mount St. Joseph (7-1) behind lefty Chris Lusby and sophomore reliever Collin Bednar, who notched the win on Thursday.

Lusby (10) and Bednar (5) combined for 15 strikeouts and coach Bruce Sider said, "they're not those kind of pitchers, but this a fun bunch of kids."

St. Joe coach Dave Norton brought in his ace and pro prospect Gavin Floyd in the bottom of the sixth with a Gopher on second in a 1-1 tie. Two passed balls on pitches that were strikes scored the winning run.

Floyd's 90-mph heat was trouble for a freshman catcher who was filling in for the starter. The loss did not go to the Severna Park resident, and Floyd may start in Saturday's Glen Burnie at Mount St. Joseph doubleheader.

Yesterday, Floyd (4-0) two-hit Thomas Johnson for a 7-1 win with eight strikeouts as the Gaels (8-1) bounced back.

"I know they're champing at the bit to get back at us Saturday," said Glen Burnie coach Bruce Sider.

"Dave [Norton] had three teams drop out of his tournament and that's why we're playing two."

Glen Burnie (18-7 in 1999) returned six starters, but among their graduation losses was All-Metro pitcher and the Sun's Anne Arundel County Player of the Year, Tim Hecker. Hecker was 11-1 last spring, including four of the team's five playoff wins.

Replacing that many wins is never easy, but the Gophers sent a message loud and clear that they aren't about to sit back and reminisce. They intend to be in the Class 4A hunt once again.

Sideliners

Sider's nephew, Steve Sider started for Chesapeake (0-1) against the Gophers who went on to take a 10-6 decision Friday. Rained out last week, Severn's baseball team is anxious to start Wednesday at Annapolis Area Christian School. The Admirals of coach Tom Pollard closed last season by winning six of their last seven for an 8-7 record and hope for a shot at the MIAA B Conference playoffs this spring. Everyone knows that Severna Park's No. 6 boys lacrosse team is loaded, but what a shocking season-opening win Friday by 18-2 over Broadneck, long one of the area's quality programs.

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

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