Pitcher Banks muscles up at Fla. International

Sev. Park alumnus throws faster, too, in 8-1 start



April 24, 2003|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

The Florida sunshine has been very good to Josh Banks.

His fastball has jumped from the mid-80s to the 90-96-mph range at Florida International University, he has put 30 pounds of muscle on his 6-foot-3 frame, and he still has the pinpoint control that attracted a lot of attention at Severna Park High.

It has added up to Banks' riding high as the ace of the Golden Panthers' pitching staff with 12 starts and a Sun Belt Conference-best 8-1 record, 2.83 ERA and 97 strikeouts.

The junior right-hander's season at the Miami school opened Jan. 25, and Florida International already has played 43 games (29-14, 7-5).

On Friday, Banks beat Louisiana-Lafayette, 5-1, as he struck out 10 and allowed one run in seven innings, giving his team the first game of an important three-game Sun Belt weekend series.

It's safe to say things are falling neatly into place this season for Banks, but he refuses to gloat about his soaring prospects in the early-June major league draft.

"A lot of hard work got me here, and it has made me more determined to continue," he said from Miami. "I want to be as good as I can be. And I believe our team could go to the College World Series because we have three strong starters."

Banks said his biggest thrill so far at FIU came in his freshman season, when the Golden Panthers won a regional championship by defeating Notre Dame, 5-4, in South Bend, Ind.

The 2000 All-Metro first-team selection then made the most impressive relief performance of his freshman year in a Super Regional best-of-three series against Southern California in Los Angeles.

Banks went 2 1/3 innings, allowing no runs and one hit, striking out two and walking one, but it was too late to rescue FIU from a 5-1 loss, the first of two straight to the Trojans.

A sprained elbow ligament limited Banks to 11 appearances as a sophomore. But he was effective when he could pitch, recording a 1.19 ERA and four saves.

"The elbow is fine," he said. "I did a lot of strength exercises."

Senior power

Lynchburg seniors Kate Habicht (Parkville) and Linda Jack (South River) are having outstanding lacrosse seasons, combining for 37 goals, 22 assists, 92 ground balls, 48 draw controls and 37 caused turnovers.

Habicht also has two game-winning goals for the Old Dominion Athletic Conference team (7-6, 4-4).

Caldwell cruises

Senior Lynsey Caldwell (Glenelg) is Muhlenberg's leader in career assists (78) in women's lacrosse, single-season assists (29) and single-game assists (five in three games this season). Her 166 points (88 goals, 78 assists) rank fourth on Muhlenberg's all-time scoring chart.

The Mules are 7-5 overall and 4-3 in the Centennial Conference.

Dolch sizzles

Quarterback Scott Dolch (McDonogh) completed 23 of 35 passes and threw for three touchdowns in Central Connecticut State's spring game last week.

Dolch, who will be a junior this fall, is expected to be the team's starting quarterback for the third straight season, showing no ill effects in the spring game from arthroscopic knee surgery in February.

Et cetera

Florida State freshman point guard Todd Galloway (St. Frances, City) took home three awards from the team's recent basketball banquet, being honored as the third Seminoles freshman ever to lead the team in assists (3.3 a game), the team's top three-point shooter (39.8 percent) and for leading the ACC's sixth men with nine double figure-scoring games. ... Yale freshman faceoff specialist Dan Kallaugher (McDonogh) leads the team in ground balls (77) and has controlled 155 of 266 faceoffs. Other Baltimore-area lacrosse players who have contributed to the success at Yale (8-4, 2-3 Ivy) are junior attackman Scott Kenworthy (River Hill), who has 17 goals and four assists; senior attackman Ryan Floyd (McDonogh), who has nine goals and 10 assists; junior goalkeeper Roy Skeen (Gilman), who has a .521 save percentage; sophomore attackman Dan Sale (Friends), and sophomore defenseman Dan Grimm (Severn). ... Lynchburg junior attackman Brandon Childs (St. Paul's) had seven goals and one assist last week as the Division III Hornets upset No. 10 Roanoke, 17-9, before losing to Hampden-Sydney, 8-7. ... Freshman Corey Reina (Mount St. Joseph) will be the starting goalkeeper Saturday for Greensboro (N.C.) College in a 2 p.m. men's lacrosse game at Goucher.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at bfree7066@hotmail.com or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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