Dulaney coach Ryan Wolfsheimer doesn't know whether to be more impressed with the Lions' starting rotation of brothers Kurtis and Kris Ewers and Devin Conroy or a lineup he calls the team's best in five years.
"I would say this is our best hitting team and pitching team, in terms of depth," Wolfsheimer said.
All of that talent could enable the Lions to surpass their success of last season when they posted a 15-6 record.
"The last two years, it's been about the pitching and defense," Kris Ewers said. "But not with a lot of hitting to back us up. This year, we have three good pitchers and a ton of hitting."
For the second straight season, junior right-hander Kurtis Ewers is the team's No. 1 starter and a standout who helped the Lions to a season-opening 11-1 victory over Bel Air on March 21 by pitching three scoreless innings.
"He doesn't get rattled and throws three pitches for strikes," Wolfsheimer said. "And he wants the ball in his hands. That's the main thing with him."
His brother is the No. 2 starter. The senior right-hander keyed a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over archrival Towson High on March 27.
He overpowered the Generals, striking out six batters in three innings of relief work to pick up the victory.
"I don't know anybody on this team who wants to be win more than he does," Wolfsheimer said of Kris, who also smacked a game winning, two-run homer in the seventh. "And he throws up 87, 88 (mph)."
Wolfsheimer also has a lot of confidence when he gives the ball to No. 3 starter Conroy, a junior right-hander.
"Our pitchers have a lot of experience," Wolfsheimer said. "They are just battlers. They love and want the ball in their hands all the time. When you have guys like that who also throw strikes, that is pretty cool."
The pitchers will help themselves by supplying run support, considering both are hitting over .300. Senior outfielders fielder Bobby Donald (.300) and Bryce Harrison (batted .368 last year) and Conroy, who also plays third and first base and is batting .364, are other top performers in a potent lineup.
"This is the best offensive team we have had since I have been here," said Wolfsheimer, a second-year coach who worked the previous three seasons as a varsity assistant. "We have guys who can really hit the ball and are aggressive. They have been playing a lot of competitive baseball. They are stronger than they were a few years ago."
One of the team's bigger challenges will be behind the plate, where sophomore Andrew Sugarman replaced injured senior Patrick Hoffman, who will be sidelined until late April or early May.
"He (Sugarman) got thrown to the wolves pretty quickly," Wolfsheimer said. "And he has to grow up pretty quickly. Patrick caught every inning for us last year."
Hoffman and his teammates started the season with a brutal stretch of games.
The Lions have played three teams ranked in The Baltimore Sun's rankings, routing No. 12 Bel Air, before losing to No. 1 Calvert Hall, 18-1, and No. 8 Loyola Blakefield, 6-4.
The game against Loyola was tied, 4-4, before the Dons rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the seventh inning to secure the victory.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun