Considering that the Baltimore boys All-Stars have yet to win the Under Armour Lacrosse Classic Underclassmen Games, the 2011 squad's debut on a sunny and hot Friday afternoon at Towson University— a 13-7 triumph over the Midwest All-Stars — was an unqualified success.
That said, the specter of eventually facing defending champion Long Island and tough rivals New England, Philadelphia and Upstate New York means the local team may have to "clean up a few things," according to Baltimore coach Brian King, who led Hereford to its fourth consecutive state title in May.
While the Baltimoreans played fairly well, they did not exactly overwhelm a Midwestern boasting performers mostly from Ohio, and a few from Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Illinois, until the final period.
And those players hailing from once was a lacrosse hinterlands had some good moments, mainly by limiting the Baltimore squad to goals by Calvert Hall's Patrick Kelly and Ben Pridemore of Boys' Latin in the third quarter while scoring one of their own.
Even then, the locals held a comfortable 9-4 advantage heading into the fourth quarter, so they were firmly in control of the situation and their good moments definitely outweighed the bad ones.
"We'd have two good (plays) and one bad," Kings said. "But a win is a win."
Baltimore put the game away by scoring the first three goals of the fourth quarter when Calvert Hall attackman Ryan Brown scored on Kelly's assist, Loyola Blakefield's Kacy Kapinos finished another Kelly feed and Pridemore did the same on a pass from Hereford attackman Joe Seider.
Loyola longstick Matt Dunn completed the scoring for the winners after a nice catch-and-dash in the final minute.
"We've pretty much got the X's and O's down," King said. "Now we have to bring a lunch-pail mentality to the game."
The reigning champion Baltimore girls also won their opener, defeating New Jersey, 16-11.
Baltimore goals: Ryan Brown (Calvert Hall) 2; Spencer Parks (St. Paul's) 2; Tom Hollenback (CHC) 1; Shack Stanwick (Boys' Latin) 1; Joe Seider (Hereford) 1; Stephen Kelly (CHC) 1; Ben Pridemore (BL) 2; Kacy Kapinos (Loyola Blakefield) 1; Patrick Kelly (CHC) 1; Matt Dunn (Loyola) 1
Baltimore assists: Stanwick 1; Colin Heacock (BL) 2; P. Kelly 2; Seider 1
Baltimore saves: Jack Brust (CHC) 6
Midwest goals; Eliot Allen (Upper Arlington) 1; Conor Stout-Shoger (Naperville North) 1; Zach Wood (Metea) 2; Joseph Bano (Dublin Jerome) 2
Midwest assists: JT Blubaugh (St. Frances DeSales) 2
Midwest saves: Alex Burgdorf (Archbishop Moeller) 8