Anthony Huling, Bel Air, baseball

Q&A --

May 06, 2007|By BILL FREE

Bel Air senior designated hitter Anthony Huling is battling through a difficult season on and off the field. He has had to deal with his father, Wally, being diagnosed with melanoma. Wally Huling recently was declared cancer-free after surgery. On the field, Huling has been slowed by injuries, including a chronic shoulder problem. After batting .350 as a sophomore -- when he helped the Bobcats reach the state semifinals -- he hit .375 last year before dipping below .200 this season. He normally is a catcher, but the shoulder injury forced him to spend all of this season as a DH. In his spare time, Huling sings, writes songs and plays guitar.

How have you dealt with your father's cancer scare?

I just kind of believed a lot and prayed a lot. I just told my dad, "It's nothing, and you'll get over it." I knew he'd be OK. I tried to hit a home run for him a couple of days after his surgery. I hit a home run, and the guy called it a ground-rule double.

What are the injuries that you're dealing with?

I have to get shoulder surgery pretty soon. It's a SLAP [superior labrum anterior to posterior] tear in my labrum. It developed over the summertime. I played about 90 games. I traveled from New York to Florida. I caught just about every game, it seemed like, and that constant repetition and wear and tear wore out the labrum. Over time, it got worse and worse. I'll have it operated on in the fall. The second injury was a fractured finger the day after Easter, and the third injury is not really an injury. I had to wear glasses because I was having trouble seeing the ball. I have astigmatism, which is blurry vision.

Are you going to college to play baseball?

Yeah, my dreams are to play college baseball. I'm really trying to get into [Maryland]. If all goes well, I'm going to get into the summer program this year. They didn't deny me and they didn't accept me, either. They sent me a letter back saying if you join this program and if you pass these college courses, you'll be accepted for this fall. I'm going to sit out the first year. I have to get my shoulder surgery. Then I'm going to try and walk on and talk to the coach [Terry Rupp].

What's the best thing you do on the baseball field?

Hit. I know my average doesn't say that. I had a key double against Havre de Grace to put us ahead, then they came back to go ahead, but we won in the end in 13 innings.

What are the most important lessons you have learned on the baseball field?

Just kind of working hard and never giving up. And discipline. I'm used to taking criticism and interpret that into a positive. I know how to take a negative into a positive. That's probably the biggest thing I've learned from baseball: just never giving up. Baseball's one of those games where anything can happen. The small teams can beat the biggest teams.

Who are your baseball mentors?

The person I admire most and will never forget is [youth coach] Brian Frederick. He taught me things about facing discipline and hard work. Another mentor is Brian Owens, who played at Fallston and taught me not only a lot about hitting a baseball, but also about character and working hard, because after all, there's someone in the world working harder than you. Also, I appreciate my Bel Air High School coach Johnny Swanson for having faith in me as a sophomore and giving me a chance at the starting catching position.

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