2017 Baseball Preseason Poll

For The Baltimore Sun
Check out the preseason Top 15 in baseball.

1. St. Mary's

Coach: John Poss

Last season: 15-11, unranked

Postseason: Did not qualify in MIAA A Conference

Outlook: In just their second season in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, the Saints might be ready for prime time. After missing the playoffs by one game last season, they feature several players committed to Division I programs, including pitcher Stephen Pelli (Virginia Tech), shortstop Nick Hopkins (LaSalle), center fielder and pitcher Brandon Cook (Towson) and even freshman catcher Clay Wargo (defending national champion Coastal Carolina). Highly-touted pitcher and first baseman Colin Taeschner, a transfer from Calvert, also is fielding Division I offers.

2. Archbishop Spalding

Coach: Joe Palumbo

Last season: 27-5, ranked No. 1

Postseason: MIAA A Conference champion

Outlook: Despite graduating four first-team All-Metro picks, the three-time defending MIAA A Conference champions again feature solid pitching and a loaded lineup. The Cavaliers have three starters throwing in the mid- to upper-80s, including Jordan Geber, a Mount Saint Mary's signee, and Nick Vermillion, a preseason all-state selection. Offensively, a good mix of speed and power from returning players and several talented underclassmen should put plenty of runs on the board.

3. Chesapeake-AA

Coach: Ken King

Last season: 22-3, ranked No. 2

Postseason: Class 3A state finalist

Outlook: A strong nucleus of five starters returns for the Cougars, including All-Metro pitcher Joe Seidler (11-1, 0.68 ERA). Shortstop Dillon Oxyer and center fielder Blake Rebstock both were All-Anne Arundel County picks a year ago, and third baseman Andrew Revels should be one of county's top infielders.

4. Patterson Mill

Coach: Matt Roseland

Last season: 21-4, ranked No. 4

Postseason: Class 1A state finalist

Outlook: After earning All-Metro Coach of the Year honors, Roseland returns 15 players, including seven starters from a squad that beat Class 4A state champion Bel Air twice last season. All-Metro pitcher Austin Koehn (10-1, 1.42 ERA) anchors a strong staff that also returns No. 2 starter Jake Sheesley (4-0, 2.24) and No. 3 Carson Uebersax. Speedy outfielder Max Elliott (.365, nine stolen bases) leads an athletic lineup.

5. Bel Air

Coach: John Swanson

Last season: 19-4, ranked No. 5

Postseason: Class 4A state champion

Outlook: Despite losing six seniors, including their top pitcher and catcher, the Bobcats return a quick lineup with plenty of athleticism, as well as a strong pitching staff. Senior pitcher-shortstop Mike Yetter closed out the Class 4A title game against Quince Orchard and threw a no-hitter against Parkville, and senior left fielder-pitcher Zack Radcliffe batted .500 on the season, also pitching a no-hitter in regionals.

6. Severna Park

Coach: Eric Milton

Last season: 19-4, ranked No. 3

Postseason: Class 4A East finalist

Outlook: After back-to-back Anne Arundel County championships, the Falcons should once again be in the hunt. Junior third baseman Kody Milton, who led the team with five home runs and 21 RBIs, has verbally committed to Maryland. He will be joined by senior shortstop Scott Huntley (.343, 23 runs), who will attend South Carolina-Aiken, and senior pitcher Matt Glady, (5-1, 0.83 ERA during the regular season).

7. Calvert Hall

Coach: Lou Eckerl

Last season: 17-13, ranked No. 11

Postseason: MIAA A Conference tournament

Outlook: Fifteen returning seniors, including seven starters, should make the Cardinals a top contender in the A Conference. Hitting and defense will be the strengths of a well-balanced team with quality depth in all positions. Catcher Garrett Matheny and outfielder JP Murphy are preseason all-state picks, but the pitching staff must get solid production from seniors Matt Hentschel, Brennen Maher, Seth Nightingale, Tim Dragonette and Andy Rosso.

8. Gilman

Coach: Larry Sheets

Last season: 18-14, ranked No. 9

Postseason: MIAA A Conference finalist

Outlook: The Greyhounds once again should be in the thick of the MIAA A Conference race. Despite their relative youth, they return several quality players, including junior infielder and pitcher Max Costes (.402, 24 RBIs), junior pitcher Mike Willis (8-1, 4.20 ERA) and senior catcher and senior pitcher Drew Ehrlich (15 RBIs at the plate, 3-1 with five saves on the mound).

9. Catonsville

Coach: Rich Hambor

Last season: 13-6, ranked No. 12

Postseason: Class 4A North semifinalist

Outlook: After falling 1-0 to eventual Class 4A champion Bel Air in the region finals, the Comets are ready for another run. They return four three-year varsity starters in second baseman Jake Getzendanner (.456), shortstop Matt Moulthrop (.367), catcher Kevin Deitz (.373) and center fielder Matt Rehder. In all, six starters return.

10. Old Mill

Coach: Charlie Chaffin

Last season: 16-7, ranked No. 8

Postseason: Class 4A East semifinalist

Outlook: All-Metro shortstop Jeremy Arocho (.435 average, .529 on-base percentage, three home runs, 15 stolen bases) leads a group of 12 returning seniors for the Patriots. Pitchers Bryce Jackson, (0.74 ERA) and Chris Osborn (1.62 ERA) should again be strong on the mound for a squad that shows good balance between offense and defense, as well as above-average team speed.

11. Century

Coach: Mike Marrale

Last season: 13-8, unranked

Postseason: Class 2A West first round

Outlook: With the vast majority of last year's team back, the Knights have a chance to be the class of Carroll County. Catcher Michael Marrale, an Old Dominion-commit who batted .455, headlines a group of six returning junior starters. Right-handers Jeremy Lapp, Ethan Kiple and Rob Martin also can throw in the mid-80s, and Nathanael Hibbs is a strong defensive shortstop who can hit for average.

12. River Hill

Coach: John McCoy

Last season: 16-5, ranked No. 15

Postseason: Class 3A East semifinalist

Outlook: The defending Howard County champions return seven starters and all of their pitchers from a staff with an ERA under 2.00. Maryland recruit Kieran Garner (5-2, 91 strikeouts in 55.1 innings) and junior Josh Mann (6-1 1.48 ERA) will lead from the mound, with senior catcher Luke Parker (.390) and senior outfielder Jake Parker (.361) heading a potent lineup.

13. Mount Hebron

Coach: Brian Culley

Last season: 16-7, ranked No. 14

Postseason: Class 3A East finalist

Outlook: Nine players with starting experience return for a team that fell by a run in the region finals to eventual state runner-up Chesapeake-AA. After advancing to three straight region title games, the Vikings should again be a state contender. They will be led by All-Metro pitcher and outfielder Jack Schroeder, a Virginia Commonwealth commit who batted .387 with 21 RBIs with a 0.98 ERA on the mound. Senior infielder and outfielder Danny Brouse and junior infielder and catcher Mark Lettieri also should be top contributors.

14. Mount Saint Joseph

Coach: Rod Cameron

Last season: 17-15, unranked

Postseason: MIAA A Conference tournament

Outlook: Thirteen players return to a traditionally strong team hoping to get back in the mix for an MIAA A Conference title. Wake Forest-commit Ethan Gallagher (.300, three home runs), Pittsburgh-commit Michael McManus (three home runs), fellow senior Jack Stilling (.323, 24 RBIs) and junior shortstop Luke Hess (12 doubles) lead a potent lineup. A year ago, the Gaels were 6-4 against the top five teams in the conference, including victories over Spalding, Calvert Hall and Gilman.

15. Westminster

Coach: Mark Winebrunner

Last season: 16-4, ranked No. 6

Postseason: Class 3A West semifinalist

Outlook: The Owls are young after graduating six starters, but competitive. They return a pair of strong pitchers in right-handers Justin Cotter (1.77 ERA) and Billy Scanlon (ERA below 3.00 as a sophomore). Other top players include power-hitting center fielder and shortstop Jordan Price (.360) and first baseman Ryan Mills (.355), who will lead off for the third straight season.

 

Others considered: Arundel (16-6), Boys' Latin (20-11), Dulaney (17-4), Glenelg (14-6), John Carroll (9-15), Loyola (18-12), Reservoir (12-6).

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