Getting over the .500 mark will be the first step for all three baseball squads at Catonsville, Western Tech and Mount St. Joseph.

Pitching experience at the top of the rotation will be the key to success for the Comets and Gaels while the Wolverines will throw some young arms into the varsity fire.

Read on to see who will be your favorite diamond dandies at the three local schools.


Record last year: 9-10

Coach Rich Hambor's quote: "We are hoping to contend for a county championship and we like our chances in the region, too."

Breakdown: Strength at the top of the pitching rotation and depth throughout the lineup could create positive battles for playing time and should get the Comets over the .500-mark hump.

Catonsville's top two starting pitchers proved to be in mid-season form despite extremely chilly conditions in back-to-back wins over Lansdowne and Western Tech on March 21 and 22.

Junior right-hander John Klein shut down Lansdowne in a 9-2 season-opening victory.

In five innings, he allowed three hits and one run, while walking one.

Last year, Klein went 3-3 with one save while hurling 36 1/3 innings.

Birkmeyer started in the 10-0 win over Western Tech.

Sophomore Danny Bruno and junior Chris Jay are chomping at the bit for the third and fourth spots in the rotations, with juniors Tim Smith, Jon Brown and Spencer Singh waiting from the wings.

Starting third baseman Bruno had 13 RBIs last year and was one of three hitters who batted over .300. Others were senior second baseman Brendan McTaggart (.381) and senior center fielder Rob Wheelton (.343).

Stat-sheet stuffer Wheelton led the 2012 squad in home runs (2), RBIs (17), runs scored (21), walks (19) and on-base percentage (.525) as a leadoff hitter.

McTaggart was an All-County First Team second baseman and led the squad in hits (24) and batting average (.381). He also drove in 11 runs.

Flanking Wheelton in the outfield is junior left fielder Jake Smuck and junior right fielder Scott Beautz (.475 on base percentage in 2012).

When Bruno is on the mound, Klein takes over at third base with junior Joey Getzendanner at shortstop.

Senior Kevin Sheppard mans first base and senior Jeremy Davis returns as the starting catcher.

Junior Ryan Whittington should be the fourth outfielder with Anthony Pehr, Lyw Westrick and Mike Heaney taking over reserve duty in the outfield and junior Chris Fleming backing up behind the plate.