Arundel star Ziegler to sit for rest of baseball season

April 20, 2001|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Last year's Anne Arundel County high school baseball Player of the Year, Arundel's Chip Ziegler, an All-Metro pitcher/outfielder, is academically eligible to play but has decided to forgo this season and use his final year of eligibility in 2002.

"I had to come back next year to earn enough credits to graduate, so I've decided to sit out the rest of this season," said Ziegler, who was academically ineligible at the start of the season.

"I've got a 2.00 grade-point-average right now, which allows me to come back, but the least amount of games I could play would be about eight and most 12 or 13 depending how far we go in the playoffs. So, I think it's better to play a full season next year."

Ziegler played his freshman year at Old Mill before receiving an administrative transfer to Arundel his sophomore year and being named All-County two straight seasons.

The 6-foot right-hander was 8-2 last spring with a county-leading 0.75 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings while also playing center field and batting .363 with six homers, a county-high 31 runs and 26 RBIs. He won't be 19 until November, which permits him to play next school year.

"There is no question that Chip would make us a whole lot stronger down the stretch, but I wanted what was best for him, " said Arundel coach Bernie Walter, whose No. 3-ranked Wildcats have been the surprise of the county this spring at 10-2.

"The fact that he was coming back to school anyway makes it all the more understanding, and I really think he will be a pro prospect and possibly get drafted next year."

Several pro scouts, who didn't wish to be named, agreed and said Ziegler has done the right thing.

With Ziegler ineligible to start the season and with the remainder a big question mark, the Wildcats' prospects seemed dim. And it was understandable considering they had lost their ace and best player and had a suspect pitching staff from a 16-6 team.

But two juniors in Jason Lively (4-0) and Bobby Goldbeck (1-1), along with sophomore Joey Frykman (4-0), all right-handers, have delivered after spot action last season.

"They're doing great without me," said Ziegler, who has been working out and will play this summer with the Maryland Orioles' 19-and-under team.

"The way they're going, they might win the whole thing [4A state title]. It's been tough watching them play because I would like to be in there, but I'll keep rooting for them and be back next year."

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