Reviving a tradition and a rivalry

AT PLAY

Chesapeake, Southern Maryland teams play their first All-Star baseball game since 2000

July 12, 2006|By JEFF SEIDEL | JEFF SEIDEL,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Duane Cordrey loved getting the chance to play in an All-Star baseball game between the Chesapeake Men's Senior Baseball League and Southern Maryland, a similar group. He played in it twice, in 1999 and 2000, before the event was stopped.

But Cordrey recently took over as the Chesapeake league's commissioner and president and pushed to get it started once more. Cordrey remembered how much he had enjoyed the game, which took place again last weekend in LaPlata.

Two games were played Saturday as part of the All-Star festivities. First came the American Division game, where a Chesapeake Division team rolled to a 10-1 victory over a Southern Maryland group. The second game belonged to Southern Maryland, which rallied for three runs in the final inning for an 11-10 victory over Chesapeake in a match of National Division players.

"When we did it back in the past, it was a lot of fun," Cordrey said. "There was a lot of camaraderie, and a lot of the guys in our league knew a lot of the guys in their league."

That's a big reason Cordrey wanted to make the event happen. He called Mike Steinhauser, the Southern Maryland commissioner and president, in the spring and asked his thoughts about getting the All-Star event restarted.

Steinhauser agreed with Cordrey, and they worked at finding a place to play. Steinhauser said they'd like to try and make it an annual event.

"Everyone enjoyed the day," Steinhauser said. "We'd like to keep it going. It was a lot of fun." In addition, they had a home run derby to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, something the leagues supports on a national level. Cordrey said they raised about $300 for this cause.

The Chesapeake Men's Senior Baseball League is for players age 25 and older, with players in their late 50s participating.

There were about 15 players on the four All-Star teams. John Goode managed the victorious American division team while Jeff Wolf ran the National division group.

Cordrey said the teams were picked from 96 players who play for Anne Arundel teams in both divisions. There are six teams for players ages 25 and older affiliated with Anne Arundel County in this league.

"It was great because we have a little bit of a friendly rivalry with Southern Maryland," Wolf said. "They've got good players, and we have a lot of fun. It's something that we want to keep going."

The American division game easily belonged to the Anne Arundel team. Jason Baker carried the game, going 4-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs. He also had a double and a single. Baker started and pitched the first three innings, getting the victory.

Six pitchers held Southern Maryland batters to one run on six hits. Russell Kessinger also homered for Anne Arundel in the victory. Brandan Sands added two hits and two RBIs.

The second game belonged to Southern Maryland, thanks to a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning. That erased a 10-8 lead and gave them the 11-10 victory.

Ian Hendricks, recently named the varsity baseball coach at McDonogh in Baltimore County, had two hits in the loss. Cordrey added two hits, and Tony Canterna blasted a home run. Brian Sands also homered, and he and Canterna combined for back-to-back round-trippers while teammate Brendan Mannix added a home run.

There also was fun in some other ways. One of the Southern Maryland players successfully proposed to his girlfriend during the seventh-inning stretch - and then got a single later that inning. "It was good baseball," Wolf said.

"It's not a bunch of old men running around on one leg there. It's entertaining, and I enjoy it. This was kind of like an All-Star break for us."

Cordrey loves baseball, having played in this league since moving here 12 years ago.

"It fosters sportsmanship, camaraderie, charity and bragging rights maybe," Cordrey said.

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