Westminster pitcher showing signs of growth in second year

Harman becomes force on mound and at plate with varsity experience


April 24, 2005|By Rich Scherr and Jeff Seidel | Rich Scherr and Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

One year has made quite a difference for Westminster pitcher Brett Harman. Only a sophomore, the 6-foot-5 right-hander says a full season of varsity experience has helped him find his comfort level.

So far this spring, that has been anything but comforting to opposing hitters.

"I feel a lot more comfortable, and comfort is a big part of the game - the mental part of it," Harman said. "All the experience from last year has really helped me."

The numbers show that. Through the Owls' first 12 games, Harman has three wins and a save, pitching to a 0.51 ERA with a Chesapeake Conference-best 38 strikeouts. He also has been a force at the plate, batting .515 with three doubles, three home runs and 12 RBIs.

His performance has been key for Westminster (7-5), which, though deep in pitching, is young elsewhere.

To coach and father Bryan Harman, Brett's progression has been fun to watch.

"Last year, there was a lot of pressure on him as a freshman on the varsity level, having kids three and four years older look at him and think he's probably here because he's the coach's son," said Bryan, adding that at times last season, his son was overmatched at the plate.

"Now it's just a confidence factor. He's much more at ease, both on the mound and at the plate."

Bryan clocked his son's fastball as high as 86 mph last fall. As powerful as Brett's velocity is, it's his movement that makes him so effective.

"He comes at you from a whole bunch of different angles," Bryan said of his son. "He'll drop down completely sidearm and come at you with a fastball with a little curveball to it."

At 185 pounds, Brett has a lot more room to grow into his large frame. He also has room to grow as a pitcher, acknowledging he still needs to improve on locating his fastball. Still, he's hoping to ride his prep success into a collegiate career. With more than two seasons before graduation, however, Carroll County hitters will be trying to catch up to his fastball for some time to come.

Senior moments

The Century tennis team finally has seniors on its roster, and they're helping the Knights become one of the county's better teams.

This is the first year that the four-year-old school has had seniors on the tennis team. For the boys, the seniors have played a major role in the team's 9-1 start. Seniors are having a similar impact on the girls team, which is 8-3.

The boys rank first in Carroll County, while the girls are third behind defending champion Liberty and South Carroll. The Knights have seniors in their top two singles spots, Michael March (No. 1) and Neal Tucker (No. 2).

Seniors Joe Batista and Stephen Romeo are playing at No. 1 doubles, while Tim Tivvis and Kevin Toeneboehn play as part of the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams, respectively. Six of the top eight players for boys are seniors.

Their only loss was to undefeated Walkersville.

"I had hopes ... and I knew the boys had the potential," said Stephen Speck, Century's co-coach with Pam Boan. "I knew they were capable. It was just a matter of whether they asserted themselves. I'm extremely proud of them."

For the girls, senior Fara Hamilton is playing at No. 1 singles. Classmate Megan Edwards is working at No. 1 doubles, and seniors make up the No. 2 doubles tandem, Keri Bennett and Lindsey Tighe. Speck said the team is hoping to do well in the Carroll County tournament in mid-May and then go on to more postseason success.

Tournament change

Carroll County officials confirmed late last week that their annual tennis tournament will be adding an extra day.

The tournament is scheduled to take place May 13, 14 and 16 at Winters Mill and Westminster. The first two days will be for the opening rounds, and players then get Sunday off before coming back Monday for the third day, when the semifinals and finals are set to be played.

Since the county now has seven schools instead of five, it has made the tournament busier in the two-day format. Schools were given three options about the tournament earlier this year, including keeping it the same, but the vote came back in favor of this format.

Wunderlich wins

North Carroll's track and field program boasted several individual winners at Wednesday's Knights Invite at North County High School in Glen Burnie.

Senior Tim Wunderlich claimed three events. He cleared 6 feet, 4 inches in the high jump, registered a mark of 50 feet, 9 1/4 inches in the shot put, and posted a throw of 145 feet, 6 inches in the discus. He also placed second in the pole vault (12 feet).

On the girls side, sophomore Katie Hursey captured the 800-meter run in 2 minutes, 24.6 seconds. Freshman Jess Huber spearheaded a 1-2-3 Panthers finish in the pole vault, taking the event by clearing 8 feet.

Bowling Brook Prep, which had won the Zimmerman Invite last Saturday, also participated at the Knights Invite. The senior foursome of Kris Davis, Ivan Gomez, Jerome Rucker and Paul Wilson won the 3,200 relay in 8:37.4.

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