Preseason Top 15

Baseball

March 21, 2001

1. Mount St. Joseph

Last season: 22-10, ranked No. 5

Skinny: Pitcher Gavin Floyd, the 2000 All-Metro Player of the Year, returns. But for the Gaels to win the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference and remain No. 1, it comes down to the way coach Dave Norton handles his pitching staff.

2. Calvert Hall

Last season: 19-11, No. 3

Skinny: The Cardinals have the talent to make Snooky Binder's expected farewell season a memorable season.

3. Archbishop Curley

Last season: 18-13, No. 12

Skinny: Bad news for Mount St. Joseph and Calvert Hall - the Friars, the 1999 A Conference champions, are loaded.

4. Dulaney

Last season: 16-9, No. 7

Skinny: This could be the year of the Lions. They have never won a state title and have been to just one final - last season with lefty Trevor MacMeekin (7-1), who is back with several others.

5. Old Mill

Last season: 16-8, No. 8

Skinny: Pitcher Steve Johnson heads up a potentially deep pitching staff that makes the Patriots the 4A East favorites.

6. St. Paul's

Last season: 17-10, No. 13

Skinny: While everybody talks about Mount St. Joseph, Calvert Hall and Curley, coach Paul Bernsdorf hopes they forget about his Crusaders. All-Metro Player Brent Weiss ranks as the area's top hitter (.434), and second team All-Metro pitcher Todd Perkins (6-3) heads up an experienced staff.

7. Glen Burnie

Last season: 13-8, unranked

Skinny: The Gophers have the kind of team - good pitching and hitting, solid defense, experience - they had in 1999, when they won the 4A state title. Junior center fielder Keith Williams is one of the area's best athletes.

8. Hammond

Last season: 18-5, No. 10

Skinny: Can anybody get the Golden Bears with returning All-Metro players - third baseman Brian Brewer (13 home runs) and catcher Jason Maxey (23 career home runs) - out, especially in their homer-friendly park?

9. Severna Park

Last season: 19-4, No. 2

Skinny: Pitching is a big question mark, but the Falcons will score enough runs to again be a contender in the 4A East region.

10. Arundel

Last season: 16-6, No. 4

Skinny: Maryland's winningest public school team (a record eight state titles) needs a young pitching staff to mature while the Cats await the return of County Player of the Year Chip Ziegler, who is academically ineligible and may miss the first seven games.

11. Northeast

Last season: 16-7, unranked

Skinny: The Eagles have just enough experience, pitching and an outstanding junior shortstop in Steve Bowen to make a run again in the 3A East region.

12. Cardinal Gibbons

Last season: 24-6, No. 14

Skinny: Two-time MIAA B Conference champions move back up to the A Conference. With returning All-Metro player Craig King and junior pitcher D.J. Steirer (5-0) the Crusaders will contend for a playoff berth.

13. Eastern Tech

Last season: 15-7, unranked

Skinny: The Mavericks should be a serious contender for 3A North region title with pitchers Ken Murray (6-1) and 6-foot-5 Brandon Berlett (3-2).

14. Bel Air

Last season: 16-5, unranked

Skinny: Runner-up to 3A North region champion Fallston, the Bobcats are strong up the middle and have plenty of experience to unseat Fallston.

15. Liberty

Last season: 16-3, No. 11

Skinny: The Lions have enough experience to contend in Carroll County and win 3A West region once again.

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