President’s Cup Schedule — With Wednesday's naming of Douglas, Dunbar and Mervo as the public school entries for the President's Cup baseball tournament, the field is set for the event, which pits private and city school teams against each other the next two weekends. Longtime Mount St. Joseph's coach Dave Norton remembers the last time teams met in such a tournament and suggests no one should take the outcome of these games for granted.
Norton can recall a tournament more than 20 years ago in which his team felt it had the upper hand because the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association teams had a greater pool of players to draw from. But on that day against Mervo, the game didn't go the way most people thought.
"My kids took them for granted," said Norton, whose team will start the President's Cup tournament Saturday with a noon game against MIAA B Conference competitor St. Frances at Medfield Heights Elementary. "Mervo had eight kids show up, and one of them showed up late and they whipped us. So I don't think anyone can say they're going to win."
On Wednesday, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young's office announced that the three public school teams that will compete against No. 3 Gilman, No. 12 Mount St. Joseph, Friends, St. Frances and Boys' Latin on Saturday at the Medfield Heights and John Hopkins baseball fields.
The number of teams in the tournament is smaller than the initial plans called for because many schools, such as No. 13 Digital Harbor and Poly, were unable to participate after committing to their nonconference schedules.
"Initially, they hoped to have 32 teams," Digital Harbor coach Dave Verdi said. "They were trying to get everyone involved, but it was difficult because by the time we heard about it some of us had already made commitments. We'd agreed to play in the Spartan Showdown at Laurel High during Easter. To change that would have caused problems for a lot of other teams.
"I'm disappointed because I do think the tournament is a good idea," Verdi added.
The loss of some teams, however, turned out to be opportunities for others. Douglas, 5-1, after pitchers Carlos Croslin, Brandon Sampson and Linwood Matthews combined for a no-hitter Wednesday against Maritime Academy, will play Gilman in a 3:30 p.m. game at Medfield Heights.
"The kids are elated," Douglas athletic director Tina Queen said. "Some of them are apprehensive, saying they know they have to bring their 'A' games, but they're all so excited. I think it will put a positive light on Baltimore baseball. I think all the teams who are participating can learn from each other. … We don't get as much press as other schools, but everyone will be able to see how hard our kids have to work to be good."
Besides the Mount St. Joseph-St. Frances and Gilman-Douglas games at Medfield Heights, there will be two more games at the John Hopkins field. Friends will take on Dunbar there at noon, followed by Boys' Latin against Mervo at 3:30 p.m.
President's Cup Schedule
Friends vs. Dunbar at John Hopkins, noon
No. 12 Mount St. Joseph vs. St. Frances at Medfield Heights Elementary, noon
Boys Latin vs. Mervo at John Hopkins, 3:30 p.m.
No. 3 Gilman vs. Douglass at Medfield Heights Elementary, 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 16
Friends/Dunbar winner vs. No. 3 Gilman/Dougas winner at Mount St. Joseph, 9 a.m.
Boys' Latin/Mervo winner vs. No. 12 Mount St. Joseph/St. Frances winner at Swann Park, 9 a.m.
Championship game at Camden Yards, 1 p.m.