Eastern Tech's work pays off

Offseason commitment credited for Mavericks' regional baseball crown

Garrison Forest is jumping over its equestrian success



Eastern Tech made its fifth straight Class 2A North regional championship appearance against Poly on Saturday, its fourth under its present coaches, and earned its third baseball crown, 6-1, over the six-time Baltimore City champion.

Entering last night's state semifinal against Atholton at Arundel High, the Mavericks (18-4) were a combined 77-12 in four seasons under coach Spike McElfish and assistant Ty Whittaker. They reached the state semifinals for the third time during that stretch, having won last year's state title and been a runner-up in 2003.

Eastern Tech, a regional finalist in 2002 under then-coach Ken King, was vying for a spot in Saturday's 4:30 p.m. finals at Cal Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.

"Our student-athletes understand that to win, you have to make a commitment in the offseason - weight room, summer ball, fall ball," Whittaker said. "Baltimore County baseball has been improving more and more with more of our teams finishing deeper into the playoffs."

The Mavericks were led by Ryan Rivers, a pitcher, first baseman and third baseman who was 6-1 with a 0.67 ERA and batted .361 with 11 RBIs, eight doubles and 18 runs scored. Pitcher and shortstop Mike Sokolis was 5-2, batting .328 with eight doubles, three triples, 14 RBIs and 20 runs scored. The Mavericks' third pitcher, Jake Biedenback, was 3-1.

Third baseman Justin Whitlock was the Mavericks' top batter at .472, followed by Rivers. Whitlock had five doubles, four triples and 20 runs scored.

Other contributors include shortstop-second baseman Matt Gardner, catcher Ben Kottraba and outfielders Jeff Bihy and Josh Kempa.

Gardner hit .329, had team highs in RBIs (21) and runs scored (22) and five each in doubles and triples; Kempa was batting .328 with 14 RBIs, 11 runs scored and two each in triples and home runs; and both Bihy and Kottraba were batting .306 with a combined six doubles, two each in triples and home runs, 21 RBIs and 23 runs scored.

G. Forest wins nationals

In the highly individualistic sport of equestrian competition, Garrison Forest coach Jenny Mitchell has seen the Grizzlies grow into a true team.

That paid off last month when the Grizzlies won their first Interscholastic Equestrian Association Hunt Seat Upper School national championship.

Virginia Shriver, Lindsay Sample, Molly Schettewi, Elizabeth Wilmerding, Katie Fink, Meghan Shader, Jennifer Naylor and Ashley Swift finished first in a field of 54 teams at the event held in Wilmington, Ohio.

Points are accumulated in seven different classes, some of which are under saddle with no jumping and others include jumping. It was the first national title for the Grizzlies, who were third in the national event last season.

"I think of what it means for us in the culmination of many years of work, working to improve their skills, working to improve their sense of team, working to improve their sense of camaraderie," Mitchell said. "These girls look out for one another. They make my job really easy."

Mitchell gave extra credit to Sample, who was injured and could not ride but served as a team captain helping the Grizzlies get to events on time and make sure they had the proper equipment.

In the team competition, Swift won the junior varsity novice over fences and was second in the JV novice on the flat. Shader was third in varsity open on the flat.

Oldfields, which finished sixth, had two riders finish in the top three: Aly Jones was third in varsity open over fences while Katherine Anderson won JV beginner on the flat.

Raiders reach finals

The Loch Raven boys lacrosse team's four-game winning streak has landed the Raiders (12-4) in today's Class 2A-1A state final at 4 p.m. at UMBC against unbeaten defending champ Parkside. The Raiders had not reached a state semifinal since 1991, and are looking to win their program's first state crown in their first championship berth.

Sixth-year head coach Rob Persing attributes the run to players such as Danny Hunter, an attackman and midfielder who is a balanced scorer with 56 points; junior Eric Friant, an attackman and excellent finisher with 49 goals and six assists; and senior attackman Tim Homa, who has 24 each in goals and assists.

"Those three will probably go down in history as the most prolific attackmen in the program," said Persing, a former assistant. "I've been here 11 years, and I haven't coached any attackmen who work together with such chemistry."

Persing also credits senior faceoff midfielder David Meninger (24 goals, 15 assists) and his defense of the three "Toms" - Tom Kuntzman (goalie) and defenders Thomas Moyer and Tom Nelson. Kuntzman averages 13 saves and 5.8 goals against him.

Golf pays off

Golfers Rachel Cook of St. Paul's and Eric Hoff of Hereford have been awarded college scholarships by the George E. Sonnefeld Foundation Inc. The awards are presented annually to high school seniors in the Baltimore area who have demonstrated a love for the game and are headed to college.

Cook plans to try to walk on to the team at Wake Forest. Hoff may also try to walk on at Maryland.



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