Title game looms large for Old Mill and coach

No. 1 Chesapeake in way of Montgomery's 400th win

Baseball

High Schools

May 13, 2004|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Tonight's Anne Arundel County baseball championship game has added significance for Old Mill and its coach, Mel Montgomery.

The No. 2 Patriots (16-4) can repeat as county champions by beating top-ranked Chesapeake (17-2) at Joe Cannon Stadium, and with a win they would give Montgomery a second prize: his 400th career victory.

"It will definitely be special if we win the county championship the same night," said Montgomery, who is in his 26th season as the Patriots' coach with a career record of 399-147 (.731), including three of Anne Arundel County's 23 state titles, most by any state school in baseball.

The coach has a baseball signed by his players for each of every 50 wins he has had at Old Mill. None of the seven baseballs in his home showcase represents a championship game, as well.

Montgomery's next win will put him in exclusive company - the third public school coach in Maryland to reach 400 wins and the eighth, counting private schools. He would be Anne Arundel's second to reach 400.

Arundel's Bernie Walter has the most by a public school coach with 529 in 31 seasons.

"I've got a lot of great memories and relationships that have continued," said Montgomery, who retired as a teacher last year but was recertified as a teacher/coach for five years.

One of the enduring relationships the coach was referring to is with Scott Willey, who played for Montgomery 20 years ago and now lives in Houston.

Willey's wife recently informed Montgomery in an e-mail that she was having a surprise 40th-birthday party next month for her husband. "His wife told me that ... I was going to be his surprise," Montgomery said. "She's flying me out ... to surprise Scott. That means a lot."

Montgomery has had more than his share of memorable teams, but last year's Class 4A state championship squad will be tough to top. His son Zach the second baseman.

"I'll always have the special memory of Zach catching a pop-up for the final out in the state championship game. ... But [tonight] could be very special, too," he said.

Maryland's winningest baseball coaches

Coach Schools Years Record Pct.

Terry Terrill Riverdale Baptist 1976-2004 704-154 .821

Al Frank Archbishop Curley 1963-2003 546-423 .563

Bernie Walter Arundel 1974-2004 529-151 .778

Joe Binder Calvert Hall 1972-74, 462-152 .752

1983-2001

Dave Norton Mount St. Joseph 1983-2004 439-151 .744

Roger Wrenn Patterson 1973-01, 2004 416-161 .721

Mel Montgomery Old Mill 1979-2004 399-147 .731

Jim Pitt Annapolis 1970-73 390-216 .644

Severna Park 1974-99

Bob Lumsden Poly 1944-67 383-62 .861

NOTE: Charlie Sullivan (Potomac and DeMatha, 1977-2004) has more than 600 wins, but his record cannot be found.

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