Arundel headed in right direction

SIDELINES

March 28, 2004|By PAT O'MALLEY

Two complete games, two wins. It appears that Arundel High's baseball team is back.

Arundel is Maryland's all-time winningest public school program, with a record nine state titles and 515 wins under 31-year coach Bernie Walter. But last season, the Wildcats went 13-9 and were unranked for the first time since 1988.

On Wednesday, the Wildcats opened at home with a 5-1 victory over No. 14 Broadneck (2-1), and knocked off Southern of Harwood (0-1), 8-1, Friday.

Senior Jeff Feigl pitched a six-hitter to stop Broadneck, and Dustin Mitchell followed with a four-hitter against Southern.

So, are the Wildcats back?

"We've got a pretty nice ballclub, but we have a long way to go to get to the level I think we can play," said Walter, who is 515-147 (.778) at Arundel. "We've got some really talented kids."

The Wildcats have had outstanding pitching and a top-notch catcher during each of their nine title-winning seasons, the last of which came in 2001 when they went 24-2 and were ranked No. 1.

It looks as if those same ingredients are there this season.

The pitching is led by a bigger, stronger Feigl, an All-County pick as a junior who put on 20 pounds and grew an inch to 6 feet 2 and 160 pounds, and Mitchell.

There are other pitchers on the roster who need experience, including junior Brian Hobbs, who could be the sleeper.

Hobbs, a 6-2, 205-pound transfer from North Caroline High on the Eastern Shore, is playing first base while recovering from rotator cuff surgery on his right throwing arm.

"Wait until we get this guy [Hobbs] going," said Walter, who coached Hobbs on his summer team, the Maryland Monarchs. "He can bring it."

Hobbs pitched a no-hitter as a sophomore at North Caroline and was named to the All-Bayside Conference second team.

Senior Brian McCormick is the new Wildcats catcher, and he comes to the team with impressive credentials after leaving Riverdale Baptist.

McCormick, who bats cleanup, has always lived in the Arundel school district but chose to play at the private school until this year.

"Brian is one of the top catchers in the state of Maryland," said Walter. "He's got good talent and is probably a pro prospect. He's been an asset because he knows how to play the game and that's made it easy to coach."

Gubbings gets first win

New Broadneck coach Gary Gubbings got his first league win as the Bruins downed Annapolis (0-2), 7-1, behind the three-hit pitching of Jesse Rickabaugh Friday.

Gubbings coached Southern-AA for eight seasons before coming to Broadneck. He is dealing with injuries that occurred right before the start of the season, resulting in the loss of shortstop Dan Blottenberger.

"Dan broke his finger, but should be back in a couple weeks," said Gubbings. "Danny Rosenblum, who was our No. 3 hitter, took his place and was doing a great job until he went down with a knee injury. He may be done for the year. But we've got some younger kids coming along and I think we're going to be fine with four pretty good pitchers."

Sideliners

After going 2-19 last season, Meade's baseball team is off to a 3-0 start following Friday's 13-12 win over Glen Burnie (0-1). ... Cameron Loeschke hit a grand slam as No. 5 Chesapeake (2-0) defeated Northeast (1-1), 7-2. ... Junior attack Kyle Fortman scored seven goals as Archbishop Spalding improved to 2-1 with a 10-6 win over Pikesville. ... Cara Cerone had six goals and six assists as No. 15 Annapolis (2-0) routed North County (1-1) in girls lacrosse, 16-6. Elsewhere, Lauren Clear scored six goals to lead Arundel (1-2) to an 11-9 win over Chesapeake. ... Kaila Jenkins, who pitched No. 3 Severna Park (2-0) to a 3A state title as a freshman last spring, tossed a one-hitter with 17 strikeouts in a 6-0 win over South River (0-2) Friday. Jenkins has 29 strikeouts in her first two games this season.

Have a note? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499 or send e-mail to patomalleysports@aol.com.

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