All-anne Arundel County

Baseball

May 31, 2002

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Steve Weber

Severna Park

An All-County outfielder as a junior, Weber made a smooth transition to catcher, a move that propelled the Falcons to their first regional title after 27 years of frustration and Weber to the Player of the Year honors, the first for a Falcon since the award began in 1980. Weber emerged as the team leader, handling the pitching staff with aplomb, directing the defense and throwing out would-be base stealers. Batting third, Weber put up impressive numbers: He hit .436, including .528 with runners in scoring position, with 29 RBIs, 28 runs and five doubles, and tied for the metro-area lead in home runs (eight). Late in the season as a pitcher, Weber beat defending Class 3A state champion Northeast, 9-2, to end a three-game Falcons' slide and start a seven-game winning streak that carried the team to the state semifinals. Weber, who is leaning toward Liberty University, is only the third catcher named Player of the Year, and first since Arundel's Steve Keppler in 1987.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Jim McCandless

Severna Park

McCandless and his 2002 team will be remembered as the team that ended the Falcons' playoff hex. In his first season at his alma mater in 2000, McCandless led the Falcons to the county title and was named Coach of the Year. This season, he guided the Falcons (19-6) to not only the county championship, beating Old Mill, 9-2, but also their first regional title. The Falcons made their first appearance in the state semifinals in the 28-year history of the state tournament, losing to eventual state champion South Carroll, 2-1. To get there, the Falcons defeated Long Reach in the 3A East regional final, 8-7. Throughout the season, McCandless masterfully rotated his staff, almost always matching the right pitcher against the right team. At times, he relied on a pitcher-by-committee approach to get the job done; he used nine pitchers in all. His moves of Steve Weber to catcher, Tim Pollock to right field and Alex Vitale to first base added punch to an offense that outscored its opponents 229-126.

FIRST TEAM

Steve Bowen

Northeast

A two-time All-County shortstop, this senior was nearly flawless in the field, committing three errors in 93 chances and was involved in 18 double plays. Bowen batted .507 with nine doubles, a triple, three homers, 31 RBIs and 28 runs scored.

Matt Buchholz

Old Mill

Buchholz emerged as the county's top third baseman as a junior. He hit .364 and had a fielding percentage of .940. In leading the No. 6 Patriots (16-6) to the county final, Buchholz had three doubles, a triple, a homer, 23 runs scored, and drove in 11 runs.

Ryan Doot

Severna Park

The junior right-hander displayed great command of three pitches, and was very smart of what he threw. Doot was 6-3 with a 3.29 ERA in 55 1/3 innings. He gave up 56 hits, only 16 walks and struck out 47. Among his wins were the county and 3A East finals. He lost in the state semifinals to eventual state champ South Carroll.

Matt Lewis

Broadneck

An All-County catcher last year, the Penn State-bound Lewis moved to center field this spring and proved outstanding. Lewis went 12-for-15 in his last four games as he finished the season batting .500. He had 27 runs, 18 RBIs, six doubles, five triples and three homers. A good runner with a strong arm, Lewis stole 10 bases and threw out three runners.

Jason Lively

Arundel

A returning All-County pitcher-shortstop, Lively was 4-2 with a 3.21 ERA in 43 2/3 innings, striking out 54 and walking 14. In two seasons, Lively went 14-2 for the Wildcats. Beyond also playing a solid shortstop, he batted .365, scored 23 times, drove in 19 runs and had nine stolen bases.

Jon Pavlis

Old Mill

A second-team selection last season, the senior right-hander emerged as the ace of the Patriots' staff. A hard thrower with superb command of three pitches, Pavlis was 6-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 54 1/3 innings. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was 6.6-to-1. He also hit two homers.

Preston Pehrson

Broadneck

With Matt Lewis moving to center field, Pehrson shifted to catcher and had a terrific season. A left-handed hitter, Pehrson batted .476 with 24 RBIs, 20 runs, eight doubles, two triples and three homers. He hit .486 with runners in scoring position. Teams were 9-for-23 in steal attempts and he picked off 10 runners.

Mike Shepley

Chesapeake

The senior second baseman led the No. 15 Cougars in batting at .448. Shepley scored 18 runs, had 12 RBIs and tied for the team lead in doubles (eight). His 21 stolen bases also led the team.

Jesse Trout

Arundel

The third Trout brother to play on an Arundel state champion last year as a junior, the second baseman was the Wildcats' most consistent player. He led the team with a .443 batting average, scored 21 runs and had 13 RBIs, five doubles, a triple and 14 stolen bases. His fielding percentage was .983.

Alex Vitale

Severna Park

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