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Baseball

High School Sports

March 19, 2004

Anne Arundel County

Defending state champions Class 4A Old Mill (20-3) and 3A Severna Park (21-4) are expected to vie for the county title for a third straight season with Chesapeake (12-11) capable of challenging.

The Patriots and Falcons will be the county's top two hitting clubs and have enough pitching to be the teams to beat. Chesapeake has the deepest pitching with three quality left-handers and two right-handers to throw to superb junior Josh Ries.

Broadneck (10-10) also has pitching depth, led by senior left-hander Mike Williams (5-1) and a new coach in Gary Gubbings.

Arundel (12-8) has several key returnees and transfers who could return the Wildcats to the elite while graduations hurt Northeast (13-6).

Baltimore City

At least three notable coaching changes have occurred in Baltimore City's A Division.

Having left Patterson to become Poly's assistant football coach, Mark Junker also takes over as head coach of the Engineers' three-time defending champion baseball team.

Junker's former position at Patterson was to be taken over by his roommate, Micah Kurtz. But Kurtz has asked Clippers athletic director Roger Wrenn, 57, to return from a two-year retirement for his 29th coaching season to show Kurtz "the Patterson way," Wrenn said.

Mervo's first-year coach Daryl Wade moves from the basketball court to the baseball diamond, where he replaces Andy Corbett after 10 years and a 128-58 record.

Baltimore County

Eastern Tech lost eight seniors, but this is familiar ground for the Mavericks, who returned two starters in 2003 and still reached the Class 2A state final.

The Mavericks should be energized by the return of senior second baseman-outfielder Kenny Miller, who hit .568 with 15 runs batted in last season before season-ending ACL surgery.

The Mavericks could battle Hereford and Western Tech in 2A-1A. Western Tech has finished second in the county the last three years. The Wolverines return senior third baseman Shawn Retz (.472, three home runs) and pitcher C.J. Espey (1.07 ERA in 32 2/3 innings).

Parkville and Perry Hall could be the top two squads in 4A-3A.

Carroll County

Westminster will field a very young team trying to repeat as county champion. Coach Bryan Harman lost several starters to graduation and said this will be a season of rebuilding.

The Owls also finally received a break as region realignments ensured that Westminster won't have to deal with long-time state powers Arundel and Old Mill. South Carroll also is in a different region as the Cavaliers dropped to Class 2A after winning region titles two straight years in Class 3A plus a state crown two years ago.

South Carroll lost Player of the Year Corey Greene and several other seniors from last season's team that made it to the state semifinals, but coach George Richardson has a number of talented players returning.

Harford County

The advent of the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference, which merges Harford and Cecil counties into two divisions, will provide a different look, but not much figures to change in Harford's hierarchy.

Chesapeake Division teams Fallston, North Harford, C. Milton Wright and Bel Air return plenty of talent, but the Cougars have a slight edge as the reigning Class 3A North and Harford County champions.

Fallston has three proven pitchers and plenty of bats, while North Harford has arguably the most potent lineup in the county.

In the Susquehanna Division, Havre de Grace, Harford Tech Joppatowne, Aberdeen and Edgewood should be in the mix.

Howard County

Returning a strong mix of pitching and hitting, defending tri-champion Glenelg is the team to beat.

The Gladiators (14-4 overall, 11-3 league) are led by pitchers Mike Corona (4-1, 3.05 ERA) and Jeff Dulaney (5-2, 2.65). Corona also batted .385, but is just one of a quartet of tough hitters that includes Tim Siders (.406, 28 stolen bases), Dan Tosh (.408) and Mike Zajac (.393).

Centennial (13-5, 11-3), also a defending tri-champ, pins its hopes on first-team All-County left-hander Jonathan Dupski (4-1, 2.51) and All-County outfielder Steve Seh (.415).

Tri-champ River Hill (17-4, 11-3) returns three powerful bats: David Walters (.465), Nick Madiou (.449, 20 RBIs) and Dan Konapelksy (.453, 16 RBIs).

Private schools

Six teams will qualify for the MIAA A Conference playoffs for the first time as the league goes to a 20-game schedule with the addition of St. John's Prospect Hall as the 11th team.

Two-time defending champion St. Paul's (23-6) will be pushed by two-time runner-up Calvert Hall (21-7), Mount St. Joseph (25-5) and possibly a seasoned Archbishop Spalding (12-10). McDonogh (12-11) could also emerge as a contender.

After those five teams, it should be a mad scramble for the sixth playoff berth among Cardinal Gibbons, Gilman, Curley, Loyola, John Carroll and St. John's.

Roger Czerwinski replaces retired Al Frank as Curley coach.

Defending B Conference champ Chapelgate lost ace pitcher-hitter Steve Evans.

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