Atholton's Hunter Carter-Rimbach, right, runs downfield… (Photo by Nate Pesce, Patuxent…)
By Andrew Conrad
It was not a banner spring for local varsity sports. Two Howard County lacrosse teams and several individual track athletes won state titles, but it came up empty in all the other spring sports: baseball, softball and tennis. Luckily, at the junior varsity level, young athletes were preparing for the success of next year's teams and beyond.
We asked all of the county's athletics and activities managers to spread word to their JV coaches that we were gathering details on the exploits of their teams this spring, and this is what we found out about the Columbia teams.
To read about the rest of the JV teams in the county, go to explorehoward.com.
Centennial (6-9 county, 7-9 overall) was paced by sophomores Connor Flach, who led the team in wins, and Brady Grimes, who led the team in saves. Drew Swann led the Eagles in stolen bases and Jacob Sorak and Anthony Strothers, along with Flach, were the team's top hitters.
Taylor Kothe had a reliable glove and showed great speed on the basepaths, and Adam Sachs came through with numerous key hits. Sophomore Pete Baum came back from a serious hand injury in the preseason to play during the last week of games. Freshman standouts included Kade Connor, Andrew Durkee, Justin Haver, Jorge Maldonado, Connor McAnallen, Robby Miller, Tyler Morris and Daniel Sterenberg.
Two of the highlights of the season were beating Reservoir and Howard, both top teams, to get back to .500 after a rocky start, and playing Oakland Mills at Joe Cannon stadium.
Hammond, coached by Tyler Love, finished just a shade below .500 with a 7-9 record, but the team's highlight was handing powerhouse Marriotts Ridge its only loss of the season. Hammond was just on the brink of a winning season, losing four games by two runs or less.
Sophomore Garrett Kelley batted a team-high .464 with 26 hits, 24 stolen bases and a .589 slugging percentage. Freshman Adam Whaley was second on the team in batting average at .426. Sophomore Corey Dickson led the pitching staff with a 2.95 ERA and Will Winder won the coaches award.
Despite a lull in the middle of the season, Howard turned in a strong campaign in 2011, finishing above .500 (9-8 league, 10-8 overall).
After a four-game winning streak out of the gate, Howard dropped seven of its next 10 games, but rallied to close out the season by winning three of the last four.
At the plate, the Lions were led by freshman Brett Schaffer and sophomores Jake Vonella, Darrian Dudley and Logan Seitz.
"Jake and Brett provided power at the plate, while players like Darrian, Logan, (freshman) Adam Brown, and (sophomore) David Phillips were consistently on base," coach Paul Foelber said. "Adam and David were threats to steal whether on first or second."
Sophomores Nick Duffy, Reid D'Antuono and Phillips handled most of the starting pitching for the season. Sophomore Matt Polen led the team in relief appearances while Mark Reagan, Chris Tulp, Tyler Gormus and Troy Kline, all freshmen, also pitched in key relief and starting appearances.
Seitz had a two home-run game against Hammond, and the Lions scored 11 runs in the seventh inning against Reservoir to seal a big win.
Brandon Pelletier (2B/3B) won the Most Valuable Player award for Wilde Lake, while Nathanael Haase (RF/P/C) was named the Unsung Hero. Wilde Lake finished with a 5-13 record.
"These players showed outstanding character on and off the field. They consistently hustled, ran hard and fought for our team," coach Ben Townsend said. "They exhibit the kind of attitude that we want to see from young people."
The team's top hitters were Jackson Quade (.397), David Lazris (.325) and Jack Skolnik (.296).
Townsend was particularly proud of the way his team played in a win over Centennial.
"We fought hard every game, but we fought especially hard that game and won," he said. "Guys were picking each other up and encouraging each other."
While catcher Chris Hines didn't lead the team in any statistical categories, Townsend couldn't have asked for a better team leader behind the plate.
"He called every pitch and caught every inning. By the end of the season, he was a brick wall and had hardly any passed balls," Townsend said. "He's going to be a great catcher and a leader on varsity next year."
Among the highlights for Atholton on its way to a 10-1 record in county play and 13-1 record overall was hosting and winning the Norman Flecker Tournament.
In addition to playing well, coach Wendell Thomas' Raiders also gathered and delivered two truck-loads of canned goods to Grassroots.
Atholton also had its annual full day of lacrosse in March, where it held a shoot-a-thon, played a 4-on-4 tournament and then went to watch a college game between Towson and Stony Brook.
On the field, the Raiders were led offensively by Glen Kasoff (45 goals, 11 assists, 41 ground balls), Hunter Carter-Rimbach (16-16-60) and Alec Grysky (21-19-44).