Baseball now anyone's game?

Rain has coaches wondering how schedule will affect their pitching

Varsity Notebook

April 08, 2009|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,

Archbishop Spalding coach Steve Miller took a look at the way the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic A Conference teams are beating up on each other and promised, "It's only going to get worse."

Miller was referring to the fact that rain is going to force teams to stuff additional games into fewer days as the season winds down. And for high school baseball teams, that means results will become more and more unpredictable.

When Calvert Hall beat Spalding, 10-0, one day and lost its next game, 10-0, to Loyola, which lost, 13-11, in a three-hour marathon in its next game to Mount St. Joseph, Calvert Hall coach Lou Eckerl said, "Once we're past our No. 1 and 2 pitchers, it's a crapshoot."

It's that way all over the state.

"It really tests the depth of a pitching staff," said Hammond coach Mike Lerner, whose Golden Bears are 6-0 and have four games scheduled this week. "During a normal week, you can get by with your normal top two pitchers, but it's a whole different story once you reach three and four games."

Lerner's county rival Paul Eckert at Marriotts Ridge didn't disagree.

"If you see any good No. 3 and 4 pitchers roaming around, send them to us," he said. "We're making stuff up now; what do you think it is going to be like in the next two weeks when we have seven games in eight school days? Anyone who says they're not worried about the coming situation is blessed or kidding themselves."

At Hammond, Lerner said he is "a little worried," but there is nothing to be done about it.

"Using your third and fourth pitchers is like using your backup quarterback in football," Lerner said. "It throws the timing and rhythm off, and it's the same in baseball. Your defense gets used to a pitcher, the time he takes between pitches. That's the way the game is played.

"But the rain, the rescheduling, the conflicts, using your bullpen, that's what makes baseball fun. That's what makes it interesting every day."

With a 6-0 record and three unbeaten pitchers - including Danny Wissmann (3-0, 0.00 era and 27 strikeouts in 19 innings) - it might be easier for Lerner to see the fun than for others as they look ahead and try to figure out who will pitch that fourth game in a week.

Fallston girls rolling

Winning isn't everything at Fallston, but when it comes to girls sports, it's mighty close.

The girls lacrosse and softball teams were undefeated through Monday, continuing one of the most impressive rolls in local sports history. As of Monday, the total number of combined losses suffered this school year by the field hockey, girls soccer, volleyball, girls basketball, softball and girls lacrosse teams was three. Their combined record for the year was 90-4.

The basketball team went 28-0 and won the state Class 3A title. The fall sports had one loss each, with the field hockey team taking the state title and the soccer team reaching the state final. The volleyball team ran into eventual state champ Centennial and fell in the regional playoffs.

Monica Fischer, who plays soccer, basketball and lacrosse, sees a few common threads running through all the school's girls teams.

"We have great coaching, and our senior class this year has unbelievable athletes in it," Fischer said. "We all stepped up this year, and it's been great for our senior year. It's great to know that especially for basketball that Harford County will get recognized and Fallston will have a higher reputation for many women's sports teams."

Some of those seniors earned All-Metro honors, including Lindsey Puckett, the field hockey Player of the Year. Fischer was a first-team pick in soccer, as was Becca Webb in volleyball. Jess Harlee earned first-team honors in basketball, but she's a junior, so the roll might not end this year.

Katherine Dunn

Weather issues

Mother Nature hasn't been kind to Archbishop Spalding's No. 6 girls lacrosse team in its quest to play No. 1 and No. 2. Both games, rained out, have been rescheduled. The Cavaliers will host No. 1 McDonogh on Thursday at 3:15 p.m. and No. 2 Severna Park on April 25 at 10:30 a.m.

Katherine Dunn

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