Crown game to give teens big-league feel

30 top baseball players competing at Oriole Park

High schools

June 10, 2000|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Thirty of the state's top high school baseball players will feel like big-leaguers for at least a day tomorrow, when they step onto the field at Oriole Park for the 19th Crown High School All-Star game.

The game, designed to showcase the talents of area seniors, is scheduled to start about 30 minutes after the Phillies-Orioles game and go for seven innings, with a three-hour time limit.

Admission is free, even for those without a ticket to the Orioles game. Those without Orioles tickets will be able to enter at the game's conclusion.

The two 15-man rosters include six Sun first-team All-Metro selections: Calvert Hall's Ryan Kyle, Mount St. Joseph's Allen Strick and Fallston's Phillip Akens and Justin Collins on the North, and Severna Park's Josh Banks and Derek Dixon on the South.

Two Sun second-teamers, Towson's Mike Williams (North) and North County's Richard Guarnera (South), also will participate.

Players will receive souvenir bats engraved with their names, presented by members of the Orioles.

Making the cut for the game is quite a feat. The process began with four regional tryouts throughout the state, with 60-70 players at each. All were ranked based on ability.

"Spending a day around the major-leaguers is quite a thrill for these guys and something they will never forget," said Mount St. Joseph coach Dave Norton, the game's organizer since 1985.

"When I get to that press conference, and I see the excitement on the kids' faces, and they see the stadium and see the field, that's the reason I do it," Norton said.

For some players, the experience may be a preview.

Banks, a 6-foot-4 pitcher, was selected by the Orioles in the amateur draft's 34th round this week. He was 9-0 with a 1.27 ERA for the No. 2-ranked Falcons this spring.

Another pitcher, Akens, was taken in the 13th round by the Florida Marlins. The 6-foot-6 fireballer was 8-1 with a 1.20 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 56 innings for the Class 3A finalist Cougars.

One player picked, Riverdale Baptist pitcher Kenny Nelson, will not play, because he signed a professional contract with the Atlanta Braves after being chosen in the draft's second round. Brad Cannon of Colonel Richardson High in Federalsburg, Caroline County, will replace Nelson.

Fact box

What: Crown High School All-Star game.

Who: North vs. South; 30 seniors chosen from all Maryland schools, public and private.

Area players: North-Phillip Akens, Fallston, pitcher; Ryan Kyle, Calvert Hall, pitcher; Scott Phillips, North Harford, pitcher; Justin Collins, Fallston, pitcher; Gary Harrison, South Carroll, catcher; Bryan Owens, Fallston, catcher; Allen Strick, Mount St. Joseph, infield; Mike Williams, Towson, infield; Charles Merryweather, Edgewood, infield; Josh Kenney, Eastern Tech, outfield; Zachary Kuehne, Mount St. Joseph, outfield. South-Josh Banks, Severna Park, pitcher; Ryan Bellerby, Broadneck, pitcher; Richard Guarnera, North County, infield; Derek Dixon, Severna Park, outfield; Jason Galloway, Old Mill, outfield.

When: About 30 minutes after Sunday's Orioles-Phillies game, which starts at 1:35 p.m.

Where: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

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