C.M. Wright has no wish for history to repeat itself

Memories of 2003 fade, keep 10-2 Mustangs alert


High Schools

April 25, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

It's not completely erased from the collective memory of the C. Milton Wright baseball team.

Few players talk about last season, in which the Mustangs won eight of their first nine games, including a victory over eventual Harford County champion Fallston, before fading late in the season amid a boatload of injuries and off-the-field issues.

But memories of that season will be brought up on occasion, if only to motivate the Mustangs and serve as a reminder of the progress the team has made.

"You can't totally forget about something like what happened last year," said senior pitcher Eddie Scarborough, who is hitting .500 with eight RBIs as the team's designated hitter.

"An unsuccessful season is always going to be remembered. You just don't want it to happen again."

Despite returning eight seniors and 11 players overall, C. Milton Wright was nearly a forgotten team at the start of this year, as much of the talk centered on Fallston and North Harford.

But the Mustangs have surged to a 10-2 record - 7-1 in the league - and a one-game lead over Bel Air for first place in the Chesapeake Division of the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference.

"The team this year, we actually have a goal in mind - to be a successful team," Scarborough said. "We've had some free thinkers in the past, but this year, we all have our heads screwed on straight and we're in this as a team."

The No. 7 Mustangs' first league loss came Wednesday, an 8-7 extra-innings defeat at the hands of North Harford, but they rebounded to beat Bohemia Manor, 5-3, on Friday behind the arm of Brad Jensema.

"We keep telling these guys that this is the most talented team we've had in a number of years, as well as the most experienced," said Mustangs coach Bryan Linz. "The biggest thing for us from here on out is keep coming every day, ready to go, ready to work hard and get the job done."

C. Milton Wright's success has been based on a mix of timely hitting and consistent pitching. John Thurston, Caleb Cole, Matt Richard and Scarborough are all batting over .500, with Thurston leading the way with a .605 average and 18 RBIs.

As a team, the Mustangs are hitting a robust .378, with 102 runs in 12 games.

On the mound, they've been just as impressive as six pitchers, led by crafty left-handed junior Mike Roberts (3-1, 2.63 ERA), have combined to post a 2.67 ERA.

"It's definitely because of hard work - that's all I can say," said Thurston, who has six triples and four doubles among his 23 hits.

In a sense, Thurston, the Mustangs' fiery, multitalented center fielder and pitcher and the team's most vocal player, is a symbol of the turnaround.

Off-the-field trouble forced Thurston's exit from the team last year, and the Mustangs, who have looked to him for leadership, never really recovered.

"It kind of tore the team apart," Scarborough said. "It was almost like, if John doesn't care, why should we?"

Times have changed for the Mustangs, who will visit Bel Air for a big game on Friday.

"I let my team down by me not being here, but now, I'm doing the best I can," Thurston said. "But even if I don't get a hit, the next thing I know is the guys behind me get two, three, four hits in row and we have some runs on the board.

"This is a team that will do something at C. Milton as long as we keep our heads on straight and don't come out flat."

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