Around The Area

Baseball

March 20, 2002

Anne Arundel County

The county may have more quality teams than in most years.

Arundel (24-2) returns its entire pitching staff and is once again the team to beat in the league and in Class 4A.

Broadneck (13-8), Old Mill (13-8) and Glen Burnie (8-13) and possibly Chesapeake (11-9) hope to challenge the Wildcats in the 4A East region.

South River (9-12), North County (7-13) and Meade (4-17) round out the county's 4A teams.

Severna Park (16-8) has never reached the state final four because Arundel or Old Mill usually stood in the way. Now a 3A team, the Falcons are expected to unseat defending champion Northeast.

Northeast (20-6) has a new coach in Larry Williams, who inherits a club that lost a lot to graduation.

Baltimore City

Mervo appears to be the class of the city. Seven starters are back from a 15-5 team that won the rubber match with Patterson en route to a runner-up finish in the Class 4A North Regional.

Chris Wilkins went 4-1 as a starter and hit .450. Jayme Krochune went 5-0, and catcher Ben Frankenberger hit .402.

Patterson (14-5) will be under coach Keith Robinson, who replaces Roger Wrenn, who has retired after 27 seasons. Robinson will count on fourth-year starting catcher Bobby Oxendine, third-year starting outfielder Todd Adkins and pitcher Matt Steele.

Corey Cascio, a second-team All-City/County second baseman, will lead Poly; so will pitcher Ken Estep for Northern. Douglass should be a stalwart.

Baltimore County

Dulaney, a two-time Class 4A runner-up, will be challenged by Franklin, Perry Hall, Dundalk and Kenwood. Defending 2A-1A county champion Catonsville must fend off Eastern Tech, Hereford, Owings Mills and Overlea.

Second baseman Drew Outten is among seven starters back for Franklin. Dulaney (22-3) returns shortstop Phil Stuart, second baseman Nick Stewart and center fielder Nick Warner. Dundalk (10-8) and Perry Hall (11-9) each return six starters.

Andrew Sohn and Tim Sparhawk are among nine returners for Catonsville (14-3). Shortstop Brad DuVall leads Hereford (16-7-1), which beat Catonsville for the 2A North Regional title. Eastern Tech, which moved down from 4A-3A, has left-handed pitcher Bryan Lang.

Carroll County

South Carroll, led by seniors Bo Sauter and Josh Lewis, both second-team All-County last season, should have the league's best pitching. First-team All-County pick Ryan Webb, who batted .387 while playing four different positions, will lead the offense.

Westminster (10-11) has new co-coaches in Bryan Harman and Guy Stoll, as well as possibly the most potent lineup in the county. It includes All-County third baseman Ed Ashwell (.378) and Sean Brewer (catcher), who has declared to Xavier.

Francis Scott Key (7-13), led by nine experienced seniors, could be the surprise of the county.

County champion Liberty (14-5) and Central Maryland Conference champion North Carroll (13-4) will be reloading with young players.

Harford County

The elite is composed of C. Milton Wright, Fallston, North Harford, Bel Air and Joppatowne.

Four pitchers are among eight returning starters for C. M. Wright, which lost four one-run games last season and was county runner-up to Bel Air.

North Harford will build around outfielders J.R. Woolson and Jake Greene and three other starters.

Mark Puckett, who coached Fallston in 1993 and Harford Community College six years ago, returns to Fallston this year, where he has three pitchers whose combined record was 9-5.

Joppatowne's Ryan Davis led the county in home runs and is among eight returning starters. Bel Air is trying to build around catcher Adam Eaton.

Howard County

Centennial surprised a lot of people by winning the Class 2A state championship last season. After a 9-9 start, the Eagles won their last eight games. They won't surprise anyone this season with two strong senior pitchers in Brad Loveless and Tom Phelan. It's a team with talent from top to bottom.

Locking horns with Centennial should be Atholton (12-10), another pitching-rich squad featuring Steve Merson and Matt Revelle, whose Columbia Reds summer team won a national title, and left-hander Vyt Rivers. If the Raiders hit, they could win a state title.

Always dangerous is Glenelg (16-7), led this season by pitcher Ross Hemphill and catcher Rob LaHayne. River Hill and Hammond are other teams to watch.

Private schools

Over the past 10 years, Calvert Hall has won six Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference titles. Archbishop Curley has won twice and Mount St. Joseph has been runner-up three times.

Is it time for the pendulum to swing away from that trio and toward the likes of Cardinal Gibbons (14-11), Gilman (11-10), St. Paul's (20-15) and possibly McDonogh (15-10)?

Each of these teams boast a good returning nucleus with the edge in pitching going to Gilman and Mount St. Joseph. St. Paul's should have enough talent to return to the playoffs. Calvert Hall has a new coach, Lou Eckerl.

Glenelg Country School (15-1), last year's C Conference champion, is the team to beat in the newly formed two-division B Conference.

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