Rivals Gilman and Mount St. Joe will take different approaches in President's Cup final

The Baltimore Sun

Players for both Gilman and Mount St. Joseph will be trying to control their emotions Saturday when they meet in a rematch of the inaugural President's Cup final Saturday at Camden Yards.

The two long-time Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference rivals will be trying to take in the scene and dwell on the moment at the second-annual event.

But the teams will be approaching the game differently.

A year ago, Gilman won the President's Cup title but turned around a week later and lost to the Gaels in an MIAA A Conference game.

Greyhounds coach Larry Sheets said he will be trying to avoid that scenario this season.

"You have to watch the competitiveness," said Sheets, a former Orioles outfielder. "I think when we played them in the President's Cup final last year we lost our edge ... and it was part of the reason we didn't make the postseason playoffs. I don't want to lose an edge this time.

"I'm telling them, 'Let's just go and have fun and enjoy the fact we're playing in Camden Yards.'"

Sheets is leading by example, saying it will be fun for him to go to the ballpark "and put my father hat on. It's nice to enjoy it with my son." Sheets' son Gavin plays right field for the Greyhounds.

Mount St. Joseph coach Dave Norton said it doesn't matter who his team is playing, the Gaels want to win.

"In an ideal world, it would be a private school playing a public school," Norton said. "Hopefully, one day it will be that. Digital Harbor almost got here this year. But right now, we're playing to see who the best team is. We've each won our divisions, and now we're looking forward to this game.

"It will be invaluable experience for our kids, who are young. They get to experience a tournament atmosphere and playing for a championship in a pro ballpark. It will pay dividends down the road."

There will be much to enjoy in the 1 p.m. game. The players will take over the professional dugouts and hear their names announced on the public address system.

Hall of Famer Frank Robinson will meet with President's Cup players from both public and private schools before the game and then throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

"I love [coming] back to the City of Baltimore where I spent many wonderful years as a player, manager, executive and World Series champion," Robinson said in a statement.

He will be representing Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, for whom he currently serves as senior advisor.

"I am very proud to be representing Major League Baseball at the President's Cup, which is a fine example of inclusion and opportunity, two principles very important to Commissioner Selig and myself. This speaks to the city's joy for the game, and I am truly looking forward to attending the championship game."

Admission and parking are free. Fans are encouraged to park in Lot A and enter the ballpark through the Home Plate Plaza entrance.

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