St. Joe's Bent beats nerves, family, 6-1

Baseball

High Schools

March 23, 2003|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

It's hard to imagine Mount St. Joseph's Brian Bent being nervous before a game.

After all, as a freshman he caught former All-Metro Player of the Year Gavin Floyd, who is now a blue-chip pitching prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies' organization.

However, it isn't often that a high school kid pitches against his uncle, who is the opposing coach, and his grandfather, an assistant.

Bent, now a senior, put his family aside yesterday in Irvington and helped pitch the No. 4-ranked Gaels to a 6-1 nonleague victory over defending Class 4A state champion Thomas Johnson (0-1) of Frederick.

Thomas Johnson coach Jim Foit is no ordinary uncle, and neither is assistant coach Jim Foit Sr. a normal granddad.

The younger Foit was an All-Metro shortstop at Mount St. Joe in 1978 who went on to play at Virginia Tech and in the Texas Rangers' organization. As a coach, Foit has led the Patriots to two state titles.

Foit Sr., also a Mount St. Joe grad, was recently inducted into the Maryland State Baseball Coaches Association. He has been a longtime amateur coach best known as a top assistant to the late Walter Youse with the legendary Leone's-Johnny's teams.

"Before the game, it was a little nerve-racking, but I just tried to focus and block out some of my family, like my uncle and grandfather and just try and throw strikes," said Bent, whose mom, Michelle, is the daughter of Foit Sr.

Bent, who is expected to pitch and catch for the Gaels (4-0) this season, pitched four strong innings, giving up two hits, striking out five, walking three and giving up the lone run in the top of the fourth.

The Gaels rallied for five runs in the bottom of the fourth and one in the sixth to make Bent the winner. Junior Jeff Poff worked the last three innings to preserve the victory.

"It was kind of tough because I was rooting for both teams, really," said Foit Sr., who helps his son but sees most of his grandson's games and traveled with the Gaels to New Orleans last week, where Bent pitched well and St. Joe went 3-0.

Head coach Foit added: "It's hard to compete against each other, but he threw well and we didn't push another run across in the fourth when we took the 1-0 lead."

St. Joe took advantage of three Patriots errors in the bottom of the fourth to score five runs off the starter and loser, sophomore lefty Mike Cholet, who stunned Old Mill in the 4A East region playoffs last spring.

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