Hopkins has baseball thievery, title in mind

39-2 Jays, No. 1 in Div. III, seeking region crown

State notebook

Colleges

May 22, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Take a glance at the stolen base column for the No. 1-ranked Johns Hopkins baseball team, and it tells part of the story about this gifted club.

The go-go Blue Jays (39-2) have stolen 123 bases compared with 30 for the opposition.

That's an average of just over three steals a game for a Division III school that plays many of its games in cold, rainy and damp conditions not conducive to speed on the base paths.

No wonder this is such a special version of Hopkins baseball in every way.

"This is the strongest Hopkins team since I've been here," said graduate school student Jeremy Brown, the pitching staff's ace. "We are such a close team with everybody working together. I believe we can win the World Series if we don't beat ourselves."

It's a top-seeded squad that is favored to fend off five teams this weekend and win the double-elimination NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional in Boyertown, Pa., and then head for the eight-team Division III World Series in Appleton, Wis.

Talent extends all the way down the bench on the 38-man Blue Jays team.

Eight pitchers have combined for a 36-1 record, and they carry 4.28 ERAs or lower. Twelve players who have been to the plate 30 or more times are batting .325 or higher.

Brown is a 5-foot-10, 195-pound right-hander whose fastball has been clocked at 90 mph, helping him record a 9-0 record with a 1.55 ERA in 81 1/3 innings. The former McDonogh School standout has 93 strikeouts and 25 walks but shrugs off the tag of ace of the pitching staff.

"There are four or five guys who could be our ace," said Brown, whose tenure at Hopkins includes a medical red-shirt season. "I've just had more chances to pitch because of my experience."

Brown said he uses a mixture of pitches to get hitters out but calls the slider his No. 1 pitch.

Four right handers are the other top pitchers on the team.They are senior Matt Righter (6-0 with 2.22 ERA), junior Ryan McConnell (7-0, 2.37 ERA), sophomore Jason Thayer (5-0, 2.67 ERA), and senior Russ Berger (4-0, 4.28 ERA).

The team sports a .348 batting average, led by seniors Rob Morrison (.491) and Tim Casale (.422). Junior Paul Winterling supplies most of the power with 10 home runs and 49 RBIs.

Winterling, a speedy center fielder, also tops the team in stolen bases (30 of 31 tries), followed by Casale (24 of 26), junior Mike Spiciarich (16 of 17) and Morrison (16 of 19).

Cramp is No. 9

After flirting with an NCAA Division III women's golf national individual championship through the first two rounds, McDaniel College junior Kelly Cramp had to settle for ninth - out of 60 golfers - last week.

Cramp was tied for first at the halfway point, thanks to a 74 score in the second round. She fell off the pace to a fifth-place tie at the close of the third round and then carded her highest score, 88, of the four rounds in Friday's final round.

That left Cramp 10 strokes off the pace in ninth place, but the three-time Centennial Conference champion had already been named a first-team All-America earlier in the week by the National Golf Coaches Association.

Et cetera

Salisbury University's quest for its first NCAA Division III softball championship ended Monday with a 1-0 loss to Moravian, giving the then No. 1-ranked Sea Gulls (41-8) a third-place finish in the eight-team World Series in Salem, Va. Lacey Lister allowed six hits in the setback that eliminated her team from the double-elimination tournament. Salisbury had lost its first game in the World Series by a 6-5 score in 11 innings to Moravian, squandering 4-0 and 5-2 leads.

Mount St. Mary's senior David Hinton established a Northeast Conference pole vault record of 15 feet, 9 1/4 inches in the league championships at Emmitsburg, earning him first team All-NEC honors. Mount sophomore Devin Barry took second in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.99, just .02 behind first-place Ashley Carter-Sinclair of Long Island University.

Tee Trotter, Maryland Eastern Shore's second all-time basketball scorer, and Jana Milin, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Year, have been chosen UMES Male and Female Athletes of the Year.

Hood College senior shortstop Melanie Muscar has been selected the Atlantic Women's Colleges Conference Most Outstanding Player for a second straight season. She led Hood in hitting with a .396 average. Hood freshman Tamara Maggard was chosen AWCC Co-Newcomer of the Year and was a second-team all-league choice. First-team All-AWCC picks were Julie Pallansch and Lisa Green, with Karen Dudley named to the second team.

CCBC-Catonsville baseball players Mike Cardwell, Ryan Lucas, Chorye Spoon and Alex Turner were named to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II, Region XX all-tournament team after the Cardinals (32-14-1) won the region. They are hosting a best-of-three District E series this weekend against Lenoir (N.C.) Community College.

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