2002 All-Metro Baseball Team
Matt Revelle, Atholton (Sun photo by Lloyd Fox)
Revelle had the kind of senior season baseball players dream of in leading the No. 2 Raiders (20-5) to their first state title. The 6-foot-2 right-hander set a Howard County record for wins by going 12-1. His final victory was a three-hit shutout of Southern of Anne Arundel County in the Class 2A state championship, 10-0.
Howard County's first Player of the Year since Centennial catcher Matt Deuchler in 1999, Revelle joins Mark Carper as the only other pitcher from Atholton and the county to win this honor. Carper was 10-1 in 1986 and was later named The Sun's Male Athlete of the Year.
With a fast-working style, Revelle posted an 0.92 ERA with 95 strikeouts and 19 walks in 76 innings. With command of three pitches - fastball, curve and changeup - Revelle had two shutouts among his eight complete games.
His only loss was to Howard, 2-1, with both runs unearned. Revelle epitomized Atholton's amazing close of 14 wins in the final 15 games as he claimed three of the Raiders' five playoff victories, plus a save in the 2A West regional final after clinching a 7-6 win over defending state champion Centennial (15-8).
Revelle will attend Lafayette College in Pennsylvania on a baseball scholarship.
Coach of the Year: Paul Bernstorf, St. Paul's
The St. Paul's baseball team reached the pinnacle under Bernstorf this year by winning its first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title and finishing as The Sun's No. 1-ranked team.
Bernstorf led the junior-laden Crusaders (25-7) to the school's best season, culminating with a 4-1 victory over Calvert Hall for the A Conference championship at Camden Yards.
The team was supposed to be a year away from excellence, and appeared to be following that course after going 6-5 to start league play. But Bernstorf's leadership and belief in his team sparked an 11-game winning streak that closed out the season on a resounding note.
Under Bernstorf's careful tutelage, the young pitching staff led by freshman Steve Johnson finished with a 2.34 ERA. Despite just four seniors on the roster, the Crusaders hit .291 as a team.
Bernstorf and assistants Dave Funk and Jeff Walen often emphasized base running and bunting to manufacture runs.
"The kids played as a team all season," said Bernstorf after winning the A Conference championship.
It has been a steady climb for Bernstorf at St. Paul's, a school best known for lacrosse. In his first season in 1996, the Crusaders went 23-4, won the B Conference title and got their first ranking at No. 17.
St. Paul's made the move to the A Conference in 1997 and went 17-12 overall as the A Conference runner-up to Calvert Hall. They made the playoffs again in 2000 and last year lost in the final to Archbishop Curley.
Eddie Ashwell, Westminster
The senior led the No. 5 Owls (19-5) to the Class 4A East regional final, where they lost to eventual state champion Thomas Johnson of Frederick County. Ashwell was the team's pitching ace and contributed at second base as well. Throwing in the mid-80s, he went 5-1 with a 2.11 ERA and struck out 43 in 33 2/3 innings.
His biggest win was a five-hitter with 13 strikeouts in a 13-2 victory over then-No. 4 Arundel in the regional semifinals. Ashwell did not give up an earned run in the stunning victory.
Ashwell also hit .300 with 19 RBIs, scored 16 runs and led Carroll County in homers with six. He is bound for Virginia Tech University.
Adam Heffron, Hammond
A two-time All-Howard County outfielder, Heffron had an excellent senior season. After batting .429 with five doubles and a homer on what was one of the top hitting teams in the metro area last season, he hit a robust .451 with 11 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 31 RBIs this season.
His speed enhanced his improvement offensively and was evident in his ability to steal bases. He was perfect in 21 stolen base attempts, making him 26-for-26 in two seasons. Also a superb outfielder with a good arm, he has signed with Towson University.
Kyle Jefferson, C. Milton Wright
Jefferson was the "heart and soul" of the Mustangs (13-8) in the words of coach Joe Oswald. The senior batted .467 (28-for-60) and led the metro area in runs scored (36) while tying for the lead in homers (eight). Jefferson's four doubles and five triples also contributed to his 1.100 slugging percentage, and he stole 10 bases.
One of his best games was in the Mustangs' 7-6 loss to Arundel in the Class 4A East regional first round; he belted a home run among his three hits. Jefferson also pitched all nine innings of that game, throwing 140 pitches and giving up eight hits to finish the season at 5-2.
For the season, he pitched 53 1/3 innings, striking out 51 and posting a 3.90 ERA.
Steve Johnson, St. Paul's
Johnson is the first freshman named to the All-Metro first team since its creation in the 1960s. The 14-year old right-hander emerged as the ace and leading hitter for St. Paul's, which won its first MIAA A Conference champion to finish the season at 25-7 and as the area's No. 1-ranked team.
Johnson became the first ninth-grader to pitch and win an MIAA A Conference final when he scattered eight hits at Camden Yards to defeat Calvert Hall, 4-1.
The son of former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson, he displayed the poise of a senior and a pickoff move to second similar to his dad. Johnson was 7-1 with three saves and a 2.63 ERA in 53 1/3 innings, giving up 41 hits, striking out 49 and walking 28. He also led St. Paul's in batting at .350 (36-for-103) and runs scored (32), and tied in homers (three).
Josh Lewis, South Carroll
Also a standout in basketball and football, the 6-foot-1 senior pitcher was the ace of the Class 3A state champion Cavaliers (15-9).
Carroll County's Player of the Year, Lewis throws in the mid to high 80s. He was 6-1 with an 0.66 ERA, struck out 60 in 42 1/3 innings, and had two shutouts and four complete games, the last an impressive three-hitter with six strikeouts in a 2-1 victory over then-No. 1 Severna Park in the 3A state semifinals.
Severna Park came into the game as one of the area's top hitting teams, averaging nearly 10 runs a game. Lewis then posted his only save of the season in the team's 3-1 state championship win over La Plata of Charles County. He will attend Indiana University on a baseball scholarship.
Matt Lewis, Broadneck
After earning honors as an All-Anne Arundel County catcher his junior year, Lewis moved to the outfield to garner All-County honors there this season. He readied himself for the switch by playing outfield for the Oriolelanders in the fall while also repeating as an All-County linebacker on the Bruins' football team.
Lewis also topped his outstanding offensive numbers from his junior season, raising his average from .463 to .500 (35-for-70), his doubles from five to six, his triples from four to five and his home runs from two to three. He drove in 18 runs, scored 27 times and had a whopping .857 slugging percentage.
Defensively, he had a .973 fielding percentage and used his strong arm to throw out three runners. Lewis is bound for Penn State.
Chris Parker, Franklin
Coach Larry Meekins calls Parker "the best shortstop" he has seen since Kurt Seibert, The Sun Athlete of the Year in 1973 from Mount St. Joseph who went on to play at Clemson and briefly in the majors with the Chicago Cubs in 1979.
Meekins played with Seibert at Clemson and says that Parker, who is headed to South Carolina, compares favorably with the glove. Parker had a .952 fielding percentage on 12 putouts, 47 assists and only three errors for the No. 14 Indians (15-7).
Parker can also swing the bat as his .473 average with two doubles, a triple, five homers, 12 RBIs and 32 runs scored attest.
Joe Peeler, Mount St. Joseph
When the senior went down in the third inning of the Gaels' first-round MIAA A Conference playoff victory over Gilman with a sensation in his right elbow, their chances of winning their first title since 1987 went down with him. Not only did the No. 7 Gaels (21-7) lose their ace pitcher, but one of their top hitters and infielders. (A partially torn ligament in the elbow was later discovered.)
Peeler finished 8-1 with a 1.47 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings. When he played second base, he batted .431 with 32 RBIs. He signed early with Towson University and gave up playing football to concentrate on baseball despite being on the verge of breaking several state records at quarterback.
Peeler will have surgery on the elbow and a full recovery is expected. He will redshirt his first year at Towson.
Preston Pehrson, Broadneck
With Matt Lewis hitting ahead of him in the batting order, opposing pitchers had plenty to worry about.
The powerfully built left-handed-hitting catcher batted .476 (30-for-63) with eight doubles, two triples, three homers, 20 runs, a club-leading 24 RBIs and an .810 slugging percentage. Pehrson hit .486 with runners in scoring position, and his last homer was a mammoth two-run blast in a 13-9 loss at Arundel in the 4A East quarterfinals.
With Lewis moving to the outfield, the junior became the full-time catcher for No. 11 Broadneck (14-7) and was superb defensively with a .983 fielding percentage on 96 putouts, 19 assists and two errors. Base stealers were 9-for-23 against him.
Vyt Rivers, Atholton
This junior made major contributions with his bat and left arm in the No. 2 Raiders' run to the Class 2A state title.
As the first baseman and No. 3 hitter, Rivers batted .434 with a Howard County-leading 36 RBIs, a team-leading five homers, 11 doubles and a .776 slugging percentage.
Rivers also scored 18 runs, the last one after he doubled in the first inning and scored the first run of Atholton's 10-0 rout of Southern-Anne Arundel in the 2A final.
On the mound, the lefty Rivers went 4-2 with one save, 56 strikeouts and a 1.86 ERA in 41 1/3 innings.
Steve Weber, Severna Park
The senior was the inspiration of the No. 4 Falcons' first regional title in 28 years of the state baseball tournament. Outstanding with the bat and as a catcher and outfielder, Weber emerged as the Anne Arundel County Player of the Year.
He hit .436 with 29 RBIs, 28 runs scored, five doubles, and tied for the metro-area lead in homers (eight). As a catcher, his strong arm kept foes from running on the Falcons. Overall defensively, he had a .964 fielding percentage and threw out 30 runners.
With Severna Park's pitching staff depleted and the Falcons in a three-game losing streak near the end of the season, coach Jim McCandless turned to Weber, who beat defending Class 3A state champion Northeast, 9-2, to start a seven-game winning streak that ended in the 3A state semifinals.
Charles White, Overlea
The senior emerged as the metro area's premier catcher, the Baltimore City/County Player of the Year and a pro prospect after leading No. 12 Overlea (14-5) to the Class 2A state semifinals.
White batted .537 with 35 RBIs, 22 runs, six doubles, three triples and five homers after leading the area in triples (eight) and driving in 31 runs as a junior. In the playoffs this season, White went 5-for-11 with two homers and 10 RBIs.
While behind the plate, White relied on his quick, lateral movement, soft hands and strong arm. Opponents rarely ran against him as he threw out of 10 of 12 base runners. He was selected yesterday in the 41st round of the amateur draft by the Orioles.
Drew White, Fallston
The sparkplug of the surprising Cougars (17-7), White led his team to the Class 3A North regional title and a No. 10 ranking.
The senior batted .392, drove in 22 runs and scored 27 times. White had seven doubles, three triples and two homers in Mark Puckett's return season to coaching after an eight-year absence.
Puckett credited White's hustle, hitting and outstanding defensive play at third base and in the outfield as main reasons the Cougars won the Harford County title and the region to advance to the state semifinals, where they lost to La Plata, 9-5.
John Zabel, Mount Hebron
The leading scorer in football and basketball for the Vikings, the senior was superb on defense for the Howard County regular-season champion as the ace pitcher and smooth-fielding shortstop.
In what was a pitching-rich league in Howard this spring, Zabel compiled an 8-2 record, one save and a 1.63 ERA. He combined on a no-hitter and had a one-hitter in leading the Vikings (16-6) to the No. 9 ranking.
Zabel batted .366 with 23 RBIs, four doubles, one triple and a homer. With the glove, Zabel committed only three errors and had a .948 fielding percentage on 41 assists and 14 putouts. He is heading to La Salle (Pa.) to play football.
Name School Class Position
Brandon Berlett Eastern Tech Senior Pitcher
Corey Cascio Poly Junior Pitcher
Matt Holley Howard Senior Pitcher
Brad Loveless Centennial Senior Pitcher
Jon Pavlis Old Mill Senior Pitcher
Steve Jordan North Carroll Senior Catcher
Alex Vitale Severna Park Junior First base
Chris Tolliver Fallston Senior Second base
Nick Stewart Dulaney Senior Third base
Steve Bowen Northeast Senior Shortstop
A.J. Tinnirella Centennial Junior Shortstop
Nick Hoffner Mount Hebron Senior Outfield
Jeff Poff Mount St. Joseph Sophomore Outfield
Keith Williams Glen Burnie Senior Outfield
Tyler Young Old Mill Junior Outfield
Note: Teams selected by Pat O'Malley after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.
1. St. Paul's 25-7
2. Atholton 20-5
3. South Carroll 15-9
4. Severna Park 19-6
5. Westminster 19-5
6. Old Mill 16-6
7. Mount St. Joseph 21-7
8. Arundel 16-7
9. Mount Hebron 16-6
10. Fallston 17-7
11. Broadneck 14-7
12. Overlea 14-5
13. Eastern Tech 17-4
14. Franklin 15-7
15. Chesapeake-AA 13-9
Other teams considered: C. Milton Wright (13-8), Calvert Hall (16-14), Poly (17-1), Centennial (15-8), Long Reach (15-9).