Southern's baseball team hanging with the big boys


Sports Beat

Anne Arundel County schools

April 13, 2005

Despite being the county's smallest school, Class 2A Southern competes with bigger schools in most sports. And this year's baseball team, with six starting seniors, is doing just that.

Last week, the Bulldogs upset then-No. 13 Arundel, 9-7, on junior Jimmy Smith's grand slam before losing a tough 4-2 decision at then-No. 11 Severna Park on Thursday to slip to 1-2.

There is no question that the tough Anne Arundel County schedule readies the Bulldogs for the postseason.

"The league is pretty even; anybody can win on any given day and playing the 4A and 3A schools really helps us," said second-year coach Manny Branco, who led Southern to the state 2A semifinals and a 14-8 record in his first season. "We have the talent to do it [return to the state semifinals], with six seniors back from last year. So our plan is to get back where we were and possibly win a state championship."

Senior Ken Misal, a pitcher and infielder, is optimistic, too."The team is flowing together better than last year. We're more used to his [Branco's] style of play," said Misal, who held Arundel to five hits Monday for the win.

Patriots set pace

Old Mill junior Ryan Callahan and senior Ethan Burney posted a pair of individual wins to power the No. 1 Patriots boys track team to a victory at the Evans/Luce Invitational at Arundel High School last Friday.

Callahan, an All-Metro selection in indoor track and field this past winter, captured the 100- and 200-meter dashes in 11.0 and 22.2 seconds, respectively.

Burney claimed the 110 high hurdles in 15.5 seconds and the triple jump with a leap of 42 feet, 8 1/2 inches.

Old Mill finished with 168 points.

Runner-up Chesapeake compiled 133 points, highlighted by first-place showings from senior Shane Fraser in the 3,200 (10 minutes, 29.7 seconds) and senior James Mildenberger in the high jump (6-0).

The girls crown went to Arundel, which posted 211 points on the strength of a pair of victories from junior Marissa McPhail in the 800 (2:29.2) and the 1,600 (5:26.1). Sophomores Aleshia Hardin and Cori Otey also added wins in the triple jump (31-7 1/2 ) and the 100 (12.7), respectively.

Old Mill placed second with 125 points, relying on junior Ashley Rucker, who took the shot put (33-10 1/4 ) and the discus (103-1).

Fan for all seasons

Anne Arundel County high school sports lost one of its most avid fans when Glen Burnie's Wayne Bradford died April 1 at the age of 59.

Bradford especially enjoyed watching his two sons, Wayne Jr. and Kevin, play for the Gophers and become All-County football players during the 1980s.

After they graduated, Bradford often would be seen at county sports events because he loved watching kids compete.

A memorial service was held for Bradford at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Glen Burnie on Saturday.

Kevin Bradford, a former sports reporter for The Capital who now works for the National Security Agency, told several funny stories about his dad's zest for life and the Gophers.

Kevin said his father once jumped a fence at Glen Burnie during halftime to talk to the football players. The coaches were walking over to talk to the team when they witnessed Wayne Bradford doing his version of Knute Rockne trying to get the team, which was trailing at the half, all revved up.

Kevin and his Gophers teammates went out and won the game in the second half.

Et cetera

Severna Park pitcher Harrison Taylor, who has a 3.9 grade point average, 1,360 SAT score and is ranked 45th in a class of 420, has committed to Johns Hopkins. ... Madeline Williams of Key School will play lacrosse at Division III Wheaton (Mass.). Williams is a captain on three Obezags teams (also soccer and indoor soccer). ... Through last week, St. Mary's junior midfielder Allison Perkins had 39 assists in seven games for the No. 6 Saints. "That's a pretty big deal to have that many assists," coach Sue Chittim said. Perkins' teammate, sophomore attack Kim Schindel, has a 4.23 GPA.

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