"You throw it with the same arm-speed of a fastball," the Towson High grad from Cockeysville said. "It fools the hitter."

Lucas takes the game seriously enough to devise a game plan before toeing the rubber.

"I have a little bit of a strategy of who to dance around, and who to go after," he said.

Those sentiments are not unusual for Senior Baseball enthusiasts.

"We come here to play and to win," said White Sox hurler Jeff Magee, 49, who owns an electrical contracting firm in Towson. "The year we won a (division) championship, we were all jumping and down like little kids."

Some of the players, including Magee, had professional careers of varying lengths in the minor leagues. His ended in Class A Sarasota in the Florida League.

There are also veterans among the graybeards, including Fred Burger, who is still playing at 70 in a league that boasts 18 regular season games before staging a single-elimination postseason tourney. The whole deal only costs $150 per player, per season.

Still, that's not enough for Lucas.

He and a group of Senior Baseball players from different teams form their own travel squad that plays in the fall and winter.

Named the Oriole Legends, the team captured a divisional championship at the Roy Hobbs Tournament in Fort Myers, Fla., in October and then went 7-0 and claimed another crown at a similar event in January.

"When the umpire yells, 'Play ball,' the competitive juices start flowing," Lucas said.

That's how it was on at Towson High on April 13 when the Cubs and Orioles squared off on a warm and sunny opening day.

The Orioles jumped out on top with a three-run first inning before the Cubs subsequently found their batting stroke, grabbing a 14-6 lead after five innings.

With Lucas on the hill for the Cubs, the Orioles had a difficult time catching up. For instance, the lefty wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by retiring Dave Edwards, 45, on a long fly to center field with his father, Wayne Edwards, 63, waiting on deck.

One Oriole hitter who did give Lucas problems was Towson resident Mike McLaughlin, 47, who whacked a couple of solid hits while making his Baltimore Senior League debut. 

The catcher, who has not played in an organized baseball game since his high school days in Philadelphia, looked comfortable at the plate — and behind it.

McLaughlin's perspective of the game he played as a boy is one that could be shared by most of his fellow Senior Leaguers.

"It all comes back to you, I guess," he said.