Severna Park renovation is a hit

School upgrades field, fences, scoreboard and dugouts, helping add to lively baseball atmosphere fueled by PA announcer



With its new grass infield representing the finishing touch to a major renovation, Severna Park has become an outstanding setting for a baseball game.

Add public address announcer-disc jockey Larry Sells, and there might not be a better atmosphere in the county.

Sells, the president of the Falcons Boosters Club, brings excitement and a professional touch when introducing the players. He also plays lively music between hitters and innings.

It's not Camden Yards, but it's as good as there is among local high schools. For members of the team, it's like being in the minor leagues, where fun is the emphasis.

But the real excitement is the new field.

Severna Park had one of the county's worst fields. Its infield was rocky, it had a low fence in the outfield and there were no dugouts.

Coach Jim McCandless, Sells, members of the boosters club, athletic director Wayne Mook, principal Will Meyers and scores of parents and students raised money and did much of the labor to create a mini-stadium.

The right-field fence was raised to make it tougher to hit a home run, and an electric scoreboard sits above the fence in right-center, replacing a hand-posted board that was behind the third-base bench. The outfield fence is covered with canvas.

There are spacious, concrete dugouts, and grass covers the entire infield, eliminating muddy base paths when it rains.

The PA system is state-of-the-art, too.

An Arundel flavor

Broadneck's baseball team had a rough week, losing three games after starting the season 4-0, but it has not dimmed the spirit of first-year coach Jeff Herrick.

The Bruins lost to No. 2 Arundel, 5-4; then-No. 4 Severna Park, 7-1; and Southern, 4-3.

"I've loved it. The kids are great and have been hustling," Herrick said last week in the midst of the team's skid. "My coaching staff has been excellent. My brother Neal is coaching with me and Bob Beauchemin, and that helps make it a really enjoyable experience."

Herrick is part of an Arundel connection on the Broadneck coaching staff. He was a standout baseball and football player at Arundel, Anne Arundel Community College and Towson University before becoming a physical education teacher and coach at Arundel and then Broadneck.

Neal Herrick was an All-Metro pitcher, third baseman and outfielder on the first two (1976-1977) of a Maryland-record nine state titles by coach Bernie Walter's Wildcats. Neal also was a quarterback on Arundel's 1975 state champion football team.

Neal, who went on to the University of Maryland and to play in the Orioles' minor league system, coaches first base for the Bruins on the days his daughter, Marybeth Herrick, is not patrolling the outfield for the Archbishop Spalding softball team.

Beauchemin's son, Bryan, was a standout baseball and football player at Arundel in the 1980s, when the elder Beauchemin met Jeff Herrick. When Herrick became football coach at Broadneck in 1989, Beauchemin went along as offensive coordinator, and they've been together ever since.

The third loss last week was especially difficult.

Mike Glod took a no-hitter and a 3-0 lead into the seventh inning Friday at home, only to see Southern rally four runs and hold on for a 4-3 win.

Quick hits

Archbishop Spalding hired longtime college coach Pete Strickland as its boys basketball coach over Annapolis assistant Dale Chambers and a host of other candidates. ... Andy Hilgartner, a Calvert Hall graduate and recent McDonogh teacher and coach, will coach the Severn boys lacrosse team in 2007, replacing John Tucker, who is stepping down. ... The Northeast baseball team got its first win of the season Friday, 3-1 at slumping Old Mill, as catcher Rich Porohnavi went 4-for-4 with a homer and triple. Both teams are 1-4. ... Freshman softball wind-millers Lauren Gibson of Chesapeake and Heather Brown of Northeast have been stellar. Gibson is 4-0, including her first no-hitter on Friday in a 10-0 win over Meade. Brown is 3-0. ... After Ricky Sillaman laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt with two strikes in the bottom of the seventh to give No. 2 Arundel a 2-1 win over then-No. 4 Severna Park last Friday, winning coach Walter said, "To win the game, we had to put the ball in play, and Sillaman is a very good bunter." ... Brooklyn Park's Erin Brady, the daughter of Annapolis basketball coach John Brady, has played four years of softball and basketball at Mount de Sales. She has a 4.1 weighted grade point average and scored 1,220 on the SAT. She has an academic scholarship to West Virginia.

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