New conference accomplishes goal of competitive balance

Traditional baseball have-nots savor success

Notebook

High Schools

April 04, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

If the first two weeks of the baseball season are any indication, Year One of the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference is going to satisfy one of its main purposes.

By forming a 14-team league made up of Harford and Cecil County schools and separating it into two divisions based on the historical strength of the teams, the coordinators of athletics for both counties, Forest Wiest and Sue Strobel, were seeking to add competitive balance.

That's exactly what has happened in baseball. In the Susquehanna Division, considered the weaker of the two divisions, two teams that combined for one win last season, Aberdeen and Edgewood, each are 3-1.

Harford Tech, also in the Susquehanna Division along with Havre de Grace, Joppatowne, Bo Manor and Perryville, won seven games last year, but is already more than halfway to that total with a 4-1 record.

"I think that the schedule has really helped," said Aberdeen coach Rigor Mortus, whose team has gotten great pitching from senior right-hander Adam Vencill and timely hitting from senior shortstop Peter Brezna (.545) and senior first baseman Casey Vincenti (two home runs). "The kids have a different attitude this year, and I think it started in the winter, with me telling them that we're in a new league and we should be able to win some ballgames. I think the kids bought into that."

Last year, Mortus' Eagles were outscored 67-12 in six games vs. Fallston, Bel Air and C. Milton Wright - Harford County's three biggest schools that are all traditionally in the hunt for the county title. But with the new league, the Eagles play only Bel Air - and just once.

Cuddy Wolf, the second year coach of Edgewood, encountered a miserable first season as the Rams went 0-15. However, Wolf said that his team, which has been led by junior right-hander Mike Smith (3-0 with 22 strikeouts and no earned runs), came back this season with a different attitude.

"I have the same kids as last year, give or take one or two, but their attitude has been like night and day," said Wolf, whose Rams still play Fallston and C. Milton Wright, but just once each. "The kids have been charged up and ready to go. ... I think the new league has worked well for us and for the teams in the top division. They are playing stiffer competition, which helps them, too."

No-hitters

Two baseball no-hitters occurred in Harford County in a 24-hour span.

On Tuesday, North Harford downed visiting Bladensburg, 13-0, as John Carlos, T.J. Jackson and Joe Ashley combined to throw a no-hitter.

A day later, Fallston's Brandon Hart and Chris Merrick held North East hitless in the No. 7 Cougars' 10-0 victory.

Brown to play Charm City

Aberdeen senior guard Phillip Brown is scheduled to play in the first game of the Marines Charm City Challenge today at the Towson Center.

Brown, who is the lone Harford County player in the all-star games, will be on the suburban all-star team, which faces the city all-stars at 3 p.m.

That game will be followed by the U.S. all-star team against a Baltimore all-star team.

Brown, a first-team All-County selection in basketball and also a key member of Aberdeen's state champion football team, averaged 16.2 points for the UCBAC champion Eagles.

Washed away

The Anne Arundel Community College girls lacrosse tournament, featuring some marquee matchups between Harford and Anne Arundel teams, was postponed a week because of rain.

Friday's schedule featured Annapolis vs. North Harford (3:30 p.m.), No. 6 C.M. Wright vs. No. 4 Broadneck (5:30 p.m.) and No. 5 Severna Park vs. Bel Air (7:30 p.m.).

Those three games - C. Milton Wright vs. Broadneck is a rematch of last year's Class 4A-3A state title game won by the Bruins in overtime - will be rescheduled (same game times) for Thursday at Anne Arundel Community College.

Originally slated for yesterday, the Bel Air-Broadneck (3:30 p.m.), Severna Park-North Harford (5:30 p.m.) and Annapolis-C. Milton Wright (7:30 p.m.) matchups will be played Saturday.

Et cetera

Harford Tech senior Kevin Totaro continued his scoring tear for the undefeated lacrosse team, netting 12 goals in two games this past week. The attackman now has 20 goals in four games. ... The tennis match between Severna Park and C. Milton Wright, two of the top programs in the metro area, was canceled Wednesday because of rain. A makeup date is unknown at this time. ... Behind Laura Canton's pitching and Nicole Hays' hitting, the C. Milton Wright softball team is 5-0.

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