New pecking order in baseball possible


March 25, 2001|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

There were three upsets, maybe four, as the high school baseball season opened Friday in Anne Arundel County.

Or were they upsets?

Success runs in cycles, but could it be that the county's perennial powers are about to be displaced?

Judging by the first-game results, local fans could be in for a wild and unpredictable season.

No. 5-ranked Old Mill, the defending Class 4A East region champion, left Pasadena with a 5-3 loss at the hands of No. 11 Northeast as Eric Brown bested Patriots ace Steve Johnson, a returning All-County left-hander.

Defending county champion Severna Park (ranked No. 9) dropped a 7-6 decision at home to Annapolis, a 5-15 team a year ago that has not had a winning season since capturing the state title in 1988.

No. 10 Arundel, a longtime 4A power with a Maryland-record eight state titles, was edged in Harwood, 8-7, by Southern, the county's only 2A team.

No. 7 Glen Burnie, the 1999 4A state champion, was the only team to live up to its ranking with a 6-3 victory over Chesapeake.

South River's 4-1 win at Broadneck, spoiling the head-coaching debut of Sean Tettemer, also can be classified as an upset. The visiting Seahawks were 6-16 a year ago while Broadneck was 13-8, including an upset of Severna Park in the 4A East quarterfinals.

Usually, the established programs, such as Arundel, Old Mill and Severna Park, have the edge at the start of each season, mainly because winning traditions are the result of skilled preparations.

Arundel ran into a Southern team that could make a serious run in Class 2A under coach Gary Gubbings, who has built a solid program in six years. The Bulldogs have had back-to-back 11-10 seasons despite playing most of their games against larger schools.

Northeast coach Marshal Kawecki said recently that his junior shortstop, Steve Bowen, "has the tools to get looked at [by pro prospects]."

Bowen tripled, homered and knocked in three runs off Old Mill's Johnson to pace the Eagles to their impressive win.

Annapolis, sparked by Brian Powell's homer and B. J. Zadera's third hit, broke up a 4-4 tie in the top of the seventh with three runs. It held on as Severna Park scored twice more.

Severna Park posted an unheard-of four straight wins in the same season over Arundel last year and will play host to Arundel tomorrow in what should be a beauty.

Sophomore right-hander Josh Larkins, whose 5-1 record last season included a no-hitter, opened with a three-hitter and one run over five innings, and Jon Fields worked the last two in Glen Burnie's victory over Chesapeake.

The Gophers travel to neighborhood rival Old Mill tomorrow.

Around the horn

With Gil Cavey throwing a three-hitter against Meade, Dan Mangum Jr. earned a win in his debut as North County coach. ... After winning its first two games, Archbishop Spalding dropped its next, 6-5, at No. 12 Cardinal Gibbons in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference action Friday. ... Spalding's starting junior catcher, Ryan Simerall, is a transfer from Chicago. ... St. Mary's had two games rained out last week and will open at home against Carroll tomorrow. Ace right-hander Tony Magnolia, who is expected to start; catcher James Kelly; second baseman Ryan Shea, and first baseman Pat Myers are expected to turn around last year's 7-10 record.

Stick scene

Veteran coach Clay White wasn't fooling when he said his Broadneck lacrosse team (4-12 last year) "owe[s] some people." The Bruins stunned No. 12 Severna Park, 8-6, on Friday with five goals in the final period. Chad Summerville and Chris Young scored three goals each for the Bruins, while Greg Karanzalis anchored the defense. On Tuesday, Broadneck hopes to next get even with Annapolis, which comes calling to Cape St. Claire.

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

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